0000000016 00000 n Indigo was one of the most commonly used dyestuffs in 18th century America, so although it has a reputation for being a challenge, I knew I had to try it, and the period way, using stale urine, aka "chamber-lye" or "sig". Correct and respectful attribution of an artist’s work is important to THE KINDCRAFT. Processing Botanic Blue. Once the indigo dissolved, I let the bucket sit three or four days in a warm place till the vat had a floating iridescent blue scum, and it was ready to use. 0000007847 00000 n The synthetic dyes which enable today’s plentiful supply of commercial denim and tie-dyed products replicate the look of natural dye almost exactly. A large part of the museum features the personal collection of ethnologist and author Chuzaburo Tanaka. 0000004886 00000 n Admittedly, my plastic bucket, rubber gloves and automotive-incubator are not exactly period-correct tools, but the process is. Like magic, the water has fermented overnight and turned blue. 0000006035 00000 n My son was a toddler in the summer of 1980, and still in toilet training, so it was easy to collect his first-morning urine and save it for the purpose. COMMUNITY: HOW IS COVID-19 AFFECTING YOUR SMALL BUSINESS? Though the process of turning green leaves into brilliant blue dye through fermentation has been practiced for thousands of years, it still feels magical. %%EOF The Higeta Indigo House in Mashiko, Japan’s Tochiji prefecture dates back to the mid 1800’s and has practiced the art of indigo and vegetable dyeing for the last two centuries. 0000100685 00000 n 0000004397 00000 n Located in Asakusa, Tokyo near the famous Sensō-ji Buddhist temple, the Amuse Museum specializes in Japanese indigo-dyed textiles and ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings popular in the Edo era. 0000026996 00000 n If the liquid is blue, that's the sign of unreduced indigo. Further fun in the blue vat, I dye some stocking-weight yarn for "self-striped" stockings. The stencils are made from Japanese washi paper – coated with persimmon juice for strength – and are brushed with rice paste then dipped into the indigo vat. Please contact us if you find any errors in our crediting. The water changes from murky green to peacock blue to a frothy navy color. 0000009870 00000 n This is the real deal. The active ingredient extracted from the dye-bearing plants is indigotin, which is insoluble in water. Voilà! The rice paste is later washed off with ash lye and the pattern remains on the cloth. Over the course of the summer when the vat got sluggish I suspended some madder twigs on a string--Liles explains that madder-root naturally contains bacteria which activate the indigo fermentation. Once, I asked his pediatrician why "boy-child, collected in the morning" urine might be preferred. He said that that children have a higher metabolic rate than adults, so their urine would be more concentrated, and that early morning urine is the most concentrated of all. What I like about the fermentation vat is that it's gentle on the fiber and requires little effort--I can put in a pound of yarn or a silk scarf, work it about, then come back 24 hours later, air it for 20 minutes, then do it again if I wish, and voila! I found many good suggestions in Lile's book, like pre-wetting the fibers in urine, and the vinegar-solution after-bath. 0000106073 00000 n Our free email newsletter about design, craft, and sustainability — plus exclusive deals in THE KINDCRAFT SHOP. As per directions, I rubbed the submerged indigo bag between my rubber-gloved fingers twice a day till the powder dissolved. The usual caveats apply as with any other indigo pot--don't introduce any more air than you can help, work the fibers under the liquid to prevent spottiness, watch your vat for the signs of too much oxidized blue indigotin in the liquid, and so on. 0000113768 00000 n 0000019301 00000 n Indigo is a dye different than any other. But when I first witnessed the wondrous natural process of making indigo from plant to paste at a small studio in Thailand, I fell in love with the traditional process and the brilliant color it produces. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Different shades of indigo after one or multiple dips in the vat. advisory and design services to brands, businesses and groups. Once I also fed it six chopped dates, which is a technique I had learned from Ida Grae's book. 0000008549 00000 n 0000101048 00000 n The initial process must be done without the presence of oxygen, which causes the blue color to arrive too early. 0000101191 00000 n In its most basic form, all you need is natural indigo, stale urine, and a good cozy spot with a comfortably warm temperature for the fermentation.. © 2014-2019 THE KINDCRAFT, LLC unless otherwise stated. Every community—places like Mexico, Nigeria, and Japan—has its own spiritual rituals, recipes, and techniques for creating natural indigo dye. 0000010719 00000 n I got my indigo from Dharma Trading Co. www.dharmatrading.com and I must say it was excellent quality, dissolving entirely with no residue. startxref I had never done this before, but who am I to argue with Jim Liles? A new bag of indigo powder from Dharma is a small expense, and urine is free! Indigo from Plant to Paste Though the process of turning green leaves into brilliant blue dye through fermentation has been practiced for thousands of years, it still feels magical.
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