Many of the artists that participate in the International Folk Art Market are making a difference in their communities, preserving folk traditions, and advocating for sustainable practices. In a new book, True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigments, IFAM artists and others share their stories. They detail their commitment to maintaining organic processes and traditional means of gathering and extracting pigments in the book, whether it’s the vibrant yellow from marigolds, the pastel purple from ancient Mixtec sea snails, or the deep browns culled from the shells of walnuts. True Colors is a revealing look at where organic dyes and pigments come from and the relationships between people, nature, and the environment.
“It profiles 26 masters of natural dyes and pigments from 13 countries around the world, digging deep into cultural background, the miracle of botanical color, biography, symbolism, and meaning,” said the book’s author, Keith Recker, IFAM’s creative director.
Among the artists featured in the book who are participating at the market this year are Uzbekistan weaver Fatillo Kendjaev, who helped revive traditional crafts such as Uzbek ikat, a dyeing technique once outlawed by the Soviet Union; Peruvian artist Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, who works with a rare, plant-based source for green dyes and is the founder of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco; and Mumbai-based artist Rupa Trivedi, founder of the 30-member atelier Adiv Pure Nature, who work with pigments obtained from flowers recycled from a venerable Hindu temple.
The full-color photography is spread out over 252 pages and captures, in fascinating detail, aspects of these artists’ processes and techniques. Along with their narratives of personal struggle and community revitalization, the book makes for a compelling way to enrich the market experience.
Advance hardcover copies of the book, which is forthcoming from Thrums Books on Sept. 1, will be available at the market for $39.95.