We are very excited to share our newest project under our Keep The Trade Alive: Artist Series. This time, we’ve teamed up with Ben Deter, a designer who explores and practices the parallels between art, design and technology. Like Brian McMenamin, who we have collaborated with on several handkerchief designs over the years, Ben is a Rogue Territory customer. As we’ve come to know more and more of our customers through Instagram, we discover that many are very talented and passionate creatives who inspire us with the work they do.
Ben had the idea to explore a Batik dying method to make hand-dyed indigo posters, inspired by an Instagram photo we posted of indigo-dyed wrapping paper. From there we collaborated on a poster design, featuring our “Keep The Trade Alive” slogan and our signature mountains graphic.
I love the simplicity of the design, particularly the way the mountain and typography emerge from the sea of blue surrounding them.
Ben used this amazing “slubby” Japanese kuzu paper to tie it back to the Japanese denim use in many of our products. The result is a poster with a rough texture and high quality feel, yet delicate and soft at the same time.
THE dying process //
To transfer the design to paper, Ben simply traced it using a lightbox. Then each letter and design element was hand-painted with melted soy wax, creating a barrier to the indigo dye. Next, each poster was individually hand-dipped into a bucket of indigo dye, and this is where the true wonder of indigo presented itself. When the paper is pulled out of the dye, it first appears a greenish-yellow color, slowly turns green-blue, and finally indigo blue. Some posters were dipped once, others twice, and some were painted with the dye using a foam brush, giving a nice variety of washes and variations.
The indigo dyed posters were then hung to dry overnight. The next day, the posters were sandwiched between two pieces of newsprint, and the wax was heated using an iron. The melted wax gradually soaks into the newsprint, and you are left with the paper you started with. The iron also helps flatten everything out after the poster ripples from being soaked in indigo. The mountains were then filled in by hand using a white wax pencil in order to make them really pop off the indigo blue background and to give them a really nice hand-finished quality.
The limited edition posters are AVAILABLE ONLINE for $85, and only 10 were made. Each poster is hand-numbered and signed by Ben himself.
WORDS // Ben Deter, Leslie Yeung
IMAGES // Ben Deter