On the Map 2022, #5 Valentin Bakardjiev in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This is an indigo journey from a visual artist Valentin Bakardjiev in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I hope you enjoy his experimental gardening and pigment making processes with indigo.

This episode provides three different languages include Bulgarian, Dutch, and English.


1. Location & Environment

All photos were submitted by Valentin Bakardjiev


I am based in Amsterdam- the capital of The Netherlands. The Netherlands have a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters. Daytime temperatures varies from 2°C- 6°C in the winter and 17°C- 20°C in the summer.


In 2020 I have been invited from Tolhuistuin* to use their facilities and to make my experimental garden to research the whole process of Indigo- from seed to pigment.

*The Tolhuistuin Foundation provides the space to participate through the imagination in the development of the city towards a sustainable model of existence, based on the principle of radical inclusivity. Based on the power of art and culture, makers and visitors work on inspiration, new angles, a sense of community, innovation and relaxation, always from the local context of Amsterdam North.



2. Indigo plants & practices


During my art study in Sliven/Bulgaria (from where I’m from) I specialized textile art and techniques for 5 years. Back then my interest started in old crafts and techniques which I was implementing in my art. I was living in the Dominican Republic for several years, also Milan/ Italy, I also have some months living in Oslo/Norway and the last 15 years I’m resident in Amsterdam/The Netherlands, where I started my art project Le Grand Bleu. During those years I have met many colorful and distinctive cultures, I learned about their art and traditions and here in Amsterdam realized that I don’t need many colors to express in my art. With the blue color of Indigo I can tell many stories, inspire people and express the whole landscape of emotions and feelings.

In 2016 I used, for the first time, natural Indigo dye as the base of my project Le Grand Bleu in which I apply Japanese traditional dyeing technique Shibori on different papers. Since I discovered the unique properties of Indigo, I wanted to learn more about the whole process of growing, extracting pigment through fermentation, dry leaf’s approach and other different ways of using the pigment.

Following the ancient information about Indigo and Shibori, I was guided by contemporary growers (Brittany Boles, Marian Gorostizaga) on how to grow seeds from Japanese indigo. I received my first Persicaria tinctoria (Koujoko)- seeds from Marian Gorostizaga - kokoroindigoculture.com in Spain.

Following the steps I managed to grow Indigo from seeds, extracted Indigo pigment through fermentation, prepared dry leaf’s for dying from which I also made an artwork celebrating the beauty of the indigo plant.


3. Culture & Story of the region


The Netherlands, a country in northwestern Europe, is known for a flat landscape of canals, tulip fields, windmills and cycling routes. Amsterdam, the capital, is home to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the house where Jewish diarist Anne Frank hid during WWII. Canalside mansions and a trove of works from artists including Rembrandt and Vermeer remain from the city's 17th-century "Golden Age." Amsterdam is colloquially referred to as the "Venice of the North", due to the large number of canals which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Personally I speak Bulgarian, Spanish, English ,Russian and Dutch language. And I’m very happy to live in Amsterdam which is home to 180 different nationalities, one of the widest varieties of nationalities of any city in the world. My blue artworks representing the endless sky and the deepest ocean inspiring people towards unity and solidarity of the world, found its roots perfectly In the city of Amsterdam- famous as the capital of Denim, Deft Blauw ceramics amongst others.

Holland may not be known for its beautiful weather, but it is known for its beautiful skies. The lovely cumulus clouds inspired many famous Dutch painters in times past.


A shorter version of Valentin's indigo story (English to Bulgarian and Dutch)

“Indigo is the only colour capable of connecting disciplines, people, cultures and places around the world”. Jenny Balfour Paul

My first Indigo Garden- from seeds to pigment.

My first research and try-outs of using natural colours and dyes were during my art education.

In 2016 I used for the first time natural Indigo dye as the base of my project Le Grand Bleu in which I apply the Japanese technique Shibori on different papers.

Since I discovered the unique properties of the Indigo I wanted to know more about the whole process of growing , extracting pigment through fermentation, dry leaf’s and the different ways of using the pigment. The oldest known fabric dyed indigo, dated to 6,000 years ago, was discovered in Peru. One of the earliest written descriptions of Shibori dates to 238 CE.

Following the ancient information about Indigo and Shibori, I was guided by contemporary growers on how to grow seeds from Japanese indigo.

I received my first Persicaria tinctoria (Koujoko) – seeds from Marian Gorostizaga- kokoroindigoculture.com Spain. In 2020 I have been invited from Tolhuistuin* to use their facilities and to make my experimental garden to research the whole process of Indigo.

*Tolhuistuin provides the space to participate through the imagination in the development of the city towards a sustainable model of existence, based on the principle of radical inclusivity. Based on the power of art and culture, makers and visitors work on inspiration, new angles, a sense of community, innovation and relaxation, always from the local context of Amsterdam North.


My incredible indigo journey in pictures:

- Planting and growing.

- Extracted Indigo pigment through fermentation.

- Prepared dry leafs for dyeing

- I made an artwork from the dry Leaf’s celebrating the indigo plant

- Collected seeds for the next planting.


Bulgarian version

"Индигото е единственият цвят, който е способен да свърже дисциплини, хора, култури и места по целия свят." Джени Балфур Пол

Моята първа индигова градина - от семена до пигмент.

Първите ми изследвания и опити за използване на естествени цветове и багрила бяха по време на моето художествено образование.

През 2016 г. за първи път използвах естествена боя Indigo като основа на моя проект Le Grand Bleu („Голямото синьо“), в който прилагам японската техника Shibori върху различни хартии.

Тъй като открих уникалните свойства на индигото, исках да науча повече за целия процес на отглеждане, извличане на пигмент чрез ферментация, сухи листа и различните начини на използване на пигмента. Най-старата известна тъкан, боядисана в индиго, датирана от преди 6000 години, е открита в Перу. Едно от най-ранните писмени описания на Шибори датира от 238 г. н.е.

Следвайки древната информация за Индиго и Шибори, бях напътстван от съвременни специалисти как да отглеждам растения от японско индиго.

Получих първата си Persicaria tinctoria (Koujoko)- семена от Marian Gorostizaga- kokoroindigoculture.com Испания.

През 2020 г. бях поканен от Tolhuistuin* да използвам техните съоръжения и да направя моята експериментална градина, за да изследвам целия процес на отглеждане на индиго.

*Tolhuistuin предоставя пространство за участие чрез въображението в развитието на града към устойчив модел на съществуване, основан на принципа на радикалната приобщаване. Въз основа на силата на изкуството и културата, творците и посетителите работят върху вдъхновение, нови гледни точки, чувство за общност, иновация и релаксация, свързани с Амстердам Север.

Моето невероятно индиго пътешествие в снимки:

- Засаждане и отглеждане.

- Извлечен индиго пигмент чрез ферментация.

- Подготвени сухи листа за оцветяване.

- Направих произведение на изкуството от сухия лист, честващо растението индиго

- Събрани семена за следващо засаждане


Dutch version

Mijn eerste Indigo Tuin - van zaden tot pigment.

Mijn eerste onderzoek en try-outs van het gebruik van natuurlijke kleuren en kleurstoffen waren tijdens mijn kunstopleiding. In 2016 heb ik voor het eerst natuurlijke Indigo kleurstof gebruikt als basis voor mijn project Le Grand Bleu waarin ik de Japanse techniek Shibori op verschillende papiersoorten aanbreng. Sinds ik de unieke eigenschappen van de Indigo ontdekte, wilde ik meer weten over het hele groeiproces, het extraheren van pigment door fermentatie, droog blad en de verschillende manieren om het pigment te gebruiken. De oudste stof geverfd met indigo is gedateerd op 6000 jaar geleden, werd ontdekt in Peru. Een van de vroegste schriftelijke beschrijvingen van Shibori dateert uit 238 in de christelijke jaartelling.


Na de oude informatie over Indigo en Shibori, werd ik begeleid door hedendaagse kwekers over het kweken van zaden van Japanse indigo. Ik ontving mijn eerste Persicaria Tinctoria (Koujoko)-zaden van Marian Gorostizaga-kokoroindigoculture.com Spanje. In 2020 ben ik uitgenodigd door Tolhuistuin om gebruik te maken van hun faciliteiten en om mijn proeftuin te maken om het hele proces van Indigo te onderzoeken. Stichting Tolhuistuin geeft de ruimte om via de verbeelding deel te nemen aan de ontwikkeling van de stad naar een duurzaam bestaansmodel, gebaseerd op het principe van radicale inclusiviteit. Vanuit de kracht van kunst en cultuur werken makers en bezoekers aan inspiratie, nieuwe invalshoeken, gemeenschapszin, innovatie en ontspanning, altijd vanuit de lokale context van Amsterdam Noord.


Mijn ongelooflijke indigo-reis in foto’s:

- Planten en groeien.

- Geëxtraheerd indigo pigment door fermentatie.

- Droge bladeren klaargemaakt om te verven.

- Ik heb een kunstwerk gemaakt van de droge bladeren die de indigoplant vieren.

- Verzamelde zaden voor de volgende aanplant.


Contact


Website: https://artbakard.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/legrandbleuamsterdam/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/legrandbleuamsterdam/

On our Interactive online map: https://viewer.mapme.com/indigoshademap/location/5603c285-8b27-41bc-937d-e57248ecb86d

*LINK FOR THE VIDEO: https://youtu.be/lMvrlFQ5uSQ


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