Over the span of two days we dove into the magical world of the ancient dye Indigo along with Rachel from Running River Organics. The class was such an incredible learning experience for everyone involved! Did you know True Indigo is a legume and has been naturalized to tropical and temperate Asia as well as Africa? Also its native habitat is unknown since it has been in cultivation worldwide for centuries!
Photos by Kisa Hues
Indigo is a shrub and may be a annual, biennial or perennial depending on the climate it is grown. It has light great pinnate leaves and pink flowers. The dye is obtained from the processing of the leaves. They are soaked in water and fermented in order to convert the plant to the blue dye. Making a indigo vat is not as difficult as it my seem. The recipe that Rachel uses is based off of Michel Garcia's 1-2-3 Vat which relies on a mineral alkali and a natural reducing agent. A process knows as "reduction" removes excess oxygen liberating the dye molecule and
allows it to attach to the fibers and bond.
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