Dyeing with indigo/Shibori

Indigo is used to create beautiful hues of blues through the unique, ancient art and science of the indigo vat and Shibori.

Shibori, an  ancient Japanese resistance dying technique dating back to the 8th century, uses binding, twisting, squeezing, pressing and folding techniques to compress cloth to create beautiful dyed fabric.

Although turmeric is a popular alternative, indigo is the primary medium used in shibori dyeing. 

I demonstrated itajime (blank space) and arashi (pole-wrapping) shibori to the teens; stressing the main goal is achieving a consistent shade of blue.

During the class the teens soaked their folded/bound muslin in the indigo vat for three hours during the one dip process.  When the muslin is initially pulled from the vat it is yellow-green.  Through a "magical" process and oxidation, once air hits the fabric is begins to change from its original yellow-green to blue.  

Our indigo vat

Indigo is a natural plant-derived dye .  

Build color! A beautiful pale indigo may require a dipping of one or more times.  Acquiring the darkest, midnight-blue indigo shades requires several repeat dippings.



Indigo can also be over-dyed with red and yellow plant dyes to achieve hues of greens and purples. 



While the entire process begins with blank or white space (muslin, in our case) anything from PVC pipes to geometric shapes cut from sturdy cardboard can be used to create unique patterns after folding and binding the muslin with string, rubber bands and clamps. 


Calandra CooperComment