Beautiful blues with Japanese indigo

I’ve spent a weekend immersed in Japanese indigo dyeing. Picking and stripping leaves, fresh dyeing silk wool, hemp silk in a cold bath and then using the used pulp and dye bath to make a more conventional vat for wool. I’ve updated the page on growing and dyeing with Japanese indigo with new instructions and pictures so please have a look.

So many colours from sky blue wool, turquoise silk, jade green and a soft muted blue on wool gauze. I have also bundled some leaves in silk and hemp silk and waiting for the indigo to be released. I had such a lovely result last year and I hoping for a repeat performance.

This is such a great dye plant and for those of you who I gave a plant this year. Hold back from harvesting. Let your plant flower which should be very soon and set seed and you too should have a good harvest from more plants next year.

I plan to run a weekend indigo workshop next year around the middle of August in time for the first harvest. The plan is to harvest my indigo and make different baths using fresh indigo and  perhaps, some different fermentation vats. Let me know if you are interested

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4 thoughts on “Beautiful blues with Japanese indigo

  1. annetisell

    Hi! I have a lot of native Australian indigo growing on my block,do you have any knowledge on how I should prepare it? Would I follow the same procedure as the Japanese indigo?

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  2. alex madden Post author

    I think your Australian indigo is probably more closely related to Asian indigofera species so I’m not sure. Experiment and see! You could also look at methods of dyeing with fresh woad leaves which involves steeping in boiling water, straining, adding washing soda, introducing air by whisking and then removing the oxygen with hydro. Look at Jenny Dean’s Wild Colour for detail.
    Let me know how you get on!

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