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.
silk starting green
jade green and sky blue on wool
beautiful colours on silk and wool
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.
last years experiment
Persicaria leaf print on silk
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
I thought I would share with you the wonderful work that came out of the workshop. These have now gone off to the far away, to be transformed by their creators hands. Made into personal pieces, imbued with the good will from the weekend and the colour that came out of our brews.
The weather has been so bad for so long with relentless wind, rain and flooding. I feel so fortunate, unlike many others, to live on a hill with no fear of flooding. The bad weather means it’s a good time to be inside by the wood-burning stove bundling pieces of fabric.
I have wanted to experiment and see what is possible in the depths of winter with very little in the way of fresh leaves to work with. Bundling what I can find in silk and cotton, around sticks, stones and metal scraps and then simmering them in baths of windfalls.
I bundled a piece of the fine hemp silk from the hemp shop with the habutai samples. It has the body of hemp with some of the dye qualities of silk. Steamed up windows and the lovely aroma of leaves fill the air and later, though little time has been given to developing the prints lovely colours and marks emerge.
My brain is whirring thinking of what wonderful things I could do with it. I have also bought some organic hemp and cotton jersey fabrics to play with which are calling for an indigo bath.