Saturday, October 01, 2022

experiments in fresh indigo - part 1

i bought some indigo seeds in the spring and planted them in pots in the greenhouse. once they were big enough and the frost gone, i planted them out in a raised bed. they looked a bit weak and scrappy and i wasn't sure whether they would turn out. but they took hold and became big, lovely, lush plants, taking over the bed, even though i had only planted them in one half. 

i read about people dyeing with fresh indigo (regular indigo dyeing is a fermentation process and seemed daunting) and decided to take some with me down to the little museum in randbøldal, where i weave. we had a regular indigo dye pot simmering that day, but i took the fresh leaves and some salt and decided to try the salt method on some silk i had found.

i massaged the salt into the leaves and then put in the piece of silk, which i'd prepared shibori-style with some small knots made with rubber bands. i massaged the leaf and salt mixture into the silk and let it sit.

i think i gave it about half an hour. it turned a lovely light aqua blue color. it took the leaves with quite some variation, with some spots darker than others. unexpected and lovely.

it's the perfect length for a scarf and i gave it a dip in vinegar water to set the dye and then took out the rubber bands. they had produced a lovely pattern, together with the salted indigo leaves.

it created a lovely play of colors on the silk and i found myself wishing i had more. it had been the last of the bolt at the fabric store, so i only had a small piece. i had divided it into three scarf-lengths and i put the other two in the regular indigo dye pot. that yielded a darker blue, as you can see here below.

i've sewn the ends together and made it into an infinity scarf that wraps twice around and has a lovely drape. i'll have to share a picture of it another day, as it's grey and rainy today and not light enough to take photos. it definitely won't be my last experiment in dyeing with fresh indigo. i think next year, i'll actually try to make some regular indigo dye to use, going through the whole fermentation and drying process. it's really a magical plant and it seems to do well in our climate. 

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Absolutely gorgeous. You have found your place in Denmark.