IndiGrowing Blue was a participatory art project let by Rowland Ricketts that ran from 2010-2014 with events at IU's Hilltop Garden & Nature Center organized around the transplanting, harvesting, and processing of indigo. Indigo as a material and process has rich potential for generating creative resonance between art, farming, and society.  IndiGrowing Blue created a first-hand experience of the cycle of Japanese indigo farming and processing, investing participants as collaborators in the creative process.

Participants were invited to lend a hand in the planting, harvesting, winnowing or processing of indigo and gain some insight into just what's involved in the making of our raw materials and their relationship to our immediate environment. At the completion of the project we started a community vat for participants to dye things in. It was my hope that through the collective cultivation and processing of indigo that the resulting dyestuff would contain for each person their own memories, experiences, and understanding of the dye as a material that embodies a rich human tradition of crafting.  In turn, the things that people chose to dye with the resulting indigo would become signifiers of those memories, experiences, and understandings both individually and collectively.  .

Trained in indigo farming and dyeing in Japan, Rowland received his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005 and is currently an Associate Professor in Textiles at Indiana University’s Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Art.  His work has been exhibited at the Textile Museum (Washington, DC), Cavin-Morris Gallery (New York), and Douglas Dawson Gallery (Chicago) and has been published in Textiles Now, FiberArts, Selvedge, Surface Design Journal, and Hand/Eye Magazine.  Rowland is a recipient of a 2012 United States Artists Fellowship.  

For more information on the indigo process or to see examples of Rowland's work, please visit:




IndiGrowing Blue was supported by Indiana University’s New Frontiers in the Arts & Humanities Program, funded by the Office of the President and administered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.