Friday, September 11, 2009

Las Azulinas

Peggy, Margaret Jane and I headed to Santa Ana yesterday, where Peggy was picking up some 600 embroidered bookmarks from Las Azulinas, a small company founded and run by women that works with indigo dyeing. Indigo dye played a big role in El Salvador's history: indigo (the blue of blue jeans), known here as anil, was the big crop before coffee and sugar cane. In the 20th century chemical dyes replaced natural indigo, but -following the lead of Las Azulinas - there's been an indigo renaissance among Salvadoran artisans.

In the Las Azulinas workshop the women work with white cotton garments that have already been sewn, adding intricate knots and folds to create tie-dyed effects or they appliqué designs on dyed cloths. Their work is beautiful, well-designed and durable, a great contribution to the artisan traditions of El Salvador. It's a good example of a small business here, one run by and employing women.

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