Indigo Love

I have wildly fluctuating feelings about indigo.

It's a gorgeous colour and always takes my breath away.. but it's intimidating to work with at first. It needs to be fermented in order for the colour to properly adhere to the fabric and that takes careful balancing, almost like a chemistry experiment. Conventional dyeing with indigo makes some nasty off-gassing and it took me a while before I found a process that uses only baking ingredients and makes no harmful chemicals. Still, each indigo dye-day I take a deep breath before preparing to get my hands (and walls, clothes and floor) stained blue for a while.

But then the silk comes out of the dye-bath a beautiful leaf green and as the it reacts with the air it turns that magical, rich glowing blue and I catch my breath again.

I recently found this video from A Great Big Story, which beautifully demonstrates the process of making indigo dye traditionally from the leaves. It's an ancient, time-consuming art and goes some way to explaining why natural dyes are both so expensive and so worth the cost and effort.



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