More explorations with the Vat

good week

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

I did mention earlier that I’ve been processing the various things I’ve learned over last month. Teaching indigo at Artspace and again in Beaufort has given me things to ponder and I’ve been eager to return to my studio to try out the vat on my own again.

It’s one thing to pull a vat “together” for teaching purposes and certainly another when things can move more deliberately in the home studio. Indigo doesn’t like to be rushed and I think that’s true in whatever form it comes, in whatever approach the dyer takes with it. There’s a certain “aliveness” or spirit to it (I feel).

This week, since returning home, depth of color has been the fascination. I still haven’t spent the time it takes, but the results were satisfying enough – for the moment. The week’s first vat was with synthetic indigo, then today, with a friend, we experimented with pre-reduced indigo and compared the two.

It goes without saying that the pre-reduced indigo (Jacquard’s package) works well (A+!). I don’t know how long I’ll be able to maintain it without feeding, but that’s the point…to find out. It’s easy to use, after pouring water at the appropriate temperature into a bucket (not a pot), one simply adds the indigo and mix of ingredients in the package and stir gently. It’s ready to dye with in about 15 minutes. It’s an easy solution for the classroom or workshop context.
The dyeing experience was very pleasing as was the deep color contrast I was looking for. I still wonder though, how deep can it go? I’m working on that.


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3 Responses to “More explorations with the Vat”

  1. shiborigirl Says:

    i agree that the pre-reduced indigo is a great tool for workshops-especially when one is working away from the studio. i have several workshops scheduled this season and will be using it. i also agree it does give a very deep color very quickly-at least if it is used as instructed. as usual, i am always keen on pushing the materials in unintended directions.

    one can purchase the pre reduced crystals by themselves and just add your own thiox and soda ash. if your vat needs correcting, try heating it up. sometimes that alone will get it back in shape without having to add anything. keeping the ph up helps too just like with a regular vat.

    it looks like it was a good day!

    • Susan Says:

      I think we’re in the same boat on this score. You do wonder how far you can push it. Thanks for the added information – I’ve already bought some crystals for another upcoming workshop! Can’t wait to use it in that context. It will make some things so much easier!

      And it was a good day. The weather was just right for it, lower temps and humidity and even a persistent cicada’s cry. Can’t beat that!

  2. jude Says:

    i will try it! thanks girls, for the review…..

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