Create: Indigo Dyeing

I love indigo! I love the colour, (always in my watercolour palette), I love the process of dyeing with indigo, even the smell (it’s fairly stinky stuff) and especially the results.

Cubes of indigo from Andhra Pradesh in India about to be crushed to a powder
Cubes of indigo from Andhra Pradesh in India about to be crushed to a powder

Wherever we have travelled I have managed to set up a small indigo vat, usually in a plastic bucket! This means I have to work on small pieces of cloth, and then use them together to make an item.

Buckets of different strengths of indigo
Buckets of different strengths of indigo

I use resist techniques to create my patterns. Stitching, clamping, knotting and folding the cloth before dyeing all create wonderful results, and are traditional Japanese shibori techniques.

stitched shibori
stitched shibori

I use strong polyester thread for stitching, and love this method as you can follow a design or a drawing. Folding the cloth creates more of a repeat pattern.

Folded and clamped clothUnfloded cloth

Clamping is a very effective technique and all sorts of things can be used to clamp the cloth from hair-clips and paperclips to c-clamps and vices.

Clamping result

Repeat pattern with paperclipsThese pieces of cloth are still to be made up into something, I am planning a quilt. The dragonfly is already in use as a bag. Indigo line

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3 thoughts on “Create: Indigo Dyeing

  1. The dragonfly is ethereal. Lovely. Reminded me of heady days in Bangalore with you dyeing (hope I’ve used the right homophone!) with the children in my garden with hoots of joy from them.

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