Indigo Dyeing


Mokume on the line

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

Friday was Indigo Day. Whenever I work like this, I simply have to dedicate the entire day to it. I didn’t start as early as I’d planned but I started working on the vat around 9 a.m. By the time Beth was arriving (10:30), the vat was ready and I had just tested it with a paper towel strip which was a bright yellow green. It quickly changed to emerald then to blue.

I’d been working on pieces over several weeks, so I had about a dozen items to dye. Beth had never done shibori or indigo dyeing and she’d brought a few items from home. So, after a brief introduction to methods, we started working on our various projects. Beth stitched and clamped, I started on the dyeing process.

I started with soaking the pieces in water for roughly 10 minutes (or more), then squeezed it out before slowly immersing them into the vat (so as not to introduce oxygen into the solution). I dipped them each several times for strong light to dark contrast. In the past, I’ve paid strong attention to soak time, but I didn’t this time. Some pieces did soak for a long while during our lunch break, but most of it went quickly. After dyeing, they were rinsed in another bucket of water, then hung on the line to dry.

As I hung them, the cicadas were droning and that’s one of the aspects of this activity that I love so much, at least in the summer. The combination of the summer heat and humidity, the small breezes, indigo on the line and the cicadas…I don’t need anything else.

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5 Responses to “Indigo Dyeing”

  1. whereishenow Says:

    yesterday, july 17 we heard our first cicada… in a tree down the street…. our tree out front is still silent.

    I feel like I am going to learn a lot lot lot about Japan from reading this blog!!!!! I will get back to you later after I have read some of the back stuff.

  2. sofennell Says:

    You are in Japan (as I understand it from reading your own blog)? I just came in from being outside with my dog and the hotaru (fireflies) were still flashing and another insect (crickets already?) in a loud chorus. All in all, a fine evening outdoors.

  3. shiborigirl Says:

    having lived both in Japan and Virginia., i miss both the cicadas and the fireflies….the sounds of summer evenings of my youth.

  4. sofennell Says:

    Summer would be if it were not for those sounds, I think. It’s something I look forward to every year. Now, I look forward to shiborizome and cicadas.

  5. Velma Says:

    Been enjoying looking at this lovely piece. Good work. I’m hearing cedar waxwings, goldfinches who battle with hummers, and robins that are working on family number two. Lightning bugs are my favorites insects and they’re on the wane.

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