Souleiado Musee Provencal

Les Indiennes

We found this delightful little museum in the old part of the town of Tarascon in Provence, France. Founded in 1988, this is a museum that pays homage to a time when things were crafted and printed by hand. The museum is housed in the original Souleiado factory, dating back more than 200 years, and is where the famous Indienne textiles were dyed and printed. ‘Les Indiennes’ are light and vibrant textiles that gained popularity in France in the 17th Century. Originally printed on cotton by hand using carved wood-blocks – of which there are 40 000 in the print room – this technique originated in India, hence the name. There are fabrics and traditional costumes dating back to the 18th century, as well as contemporary prints, and it is interesting to see how little the style has changed in over 300 years. This is a style of fabric intrinsic to the countryside and colours of Provence, with designs that are timeless and distinctly provincial.