AXEL BECKER, THE NORWEGIAN INDIGO MASTER
In the autumn of 1999, we read a very interesting article by Tina Ignell in the magazine Vävmagasinet about Axel Becker, "Blåfärgaren på Helset (The Indigo Dyer in Helset) ". We got in touch with Axel, and paid a visit to his farm in Trondheim. This is how our friendship started with this indigo master.
Axel is a multifaceted man - trained illustrator, textile teacher, kinesiologist, medical Qigong instructor. He interest in Japanese indigo prints was sparked in the 1990s when he came in contact with Gösta Sandberg, a Swedish expert on the subject. He then tried indigo dyeing himself, and tried it again, and again, and again.
“An indigo bath is alive. With the influence of temperature, air pressure, the position of the moon and the chemical composition, each bath becomes its own organism.”
Today, Axel and his wife Ingrid have each built a studio workshop on their farm, Gamle Helset Gård. Here, Axel has his own deep indigo vat where he experiments with different formulas, free dyeing and block printing. He exchanges experience with other masters on regular trips to Japan and India.
“We can sit face to face talking about the mystery of colouring while smelling and almost tasting the baths beside us. How it really works is difficult to explain. And in the end, maybe we do not need answers to everything.”
Axel told us about his previous visits to his friends at Aranya in Kerala and Avani in the Himalayas as well as his invitation to Aranya's upcoming 25th anniversary celebration. We decided to accompany him. And this great journey together at the end of February 2020 gives rise to the Spirit of Threads.