Monday, July 11, 2011

Blue Alchemy: A New Documentary


On July 6, at the famed Santa Fe Folk Art Market, a stunning new documentary had its North American Debut. Blue Alchemy, has been on the radar of textile and dye specialists for years now and it is no exaggeration to say that its release has been heavily anticipated.


Over a number of years Mary Lance travelled through India, Japan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Mexico, El Salvador, and the United States recording the stories and traditions of the blue art. Hiroyuki Shindo, a contemporary Japanese textile artist and indigo master opens the documentary. Shindo still uses a traditional fermentation vat and the footage that Lance captured there in the December cold is hauntingly beautiful. In addition to beauty there is inspiration and hope being pulled from the indigo vats. In Bangladesh Lance visits Ruby Ghuznavi's Aranya project; one of the first projects to revive natural dyes and the project that inspired the second Aranya Project in South India.

In addition to its incredible colour, indigo has the potential to pull communities together. The indigo farmers, the people who master and run the art of extraction, the merchants who trade, the artisans who reawaken the blue dye in their own dye pot and master another set of traditions to create the final cloth - all are held together by a colourful thread and a story worth telling.

You can get your copy of Blue Alchemy HERE.


About Mary Lance.

Mary Lance is an award-winning filmmaker with over thirty years’ experience in documentary production. “Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo” is her most recent project. Other documentaries include  “Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World“ (2002),  “Diego Rivera: I Paint What I See” (1989). Lance began her career as an independent filmmaker with “Artists at Work: A Film on the New Deal Art Projects” (1981) ,a survey of the 1930s New Deal art projects, which received a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival, A CINE Golden Eagle, and numerous other awards. In additional to grant-funded documentaries, she has produced a number of films and videotapes for museums and non-profit organizations including the Smithsonian, the Public Art Fund, and the Henry Ford Museum. Lance resides in New Mexico, where she also works as a freelance field producer for television.

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