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Shibori and Indigo

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

Lately I've been trying to think more openly about surface pattern design without actually doing printing ( but I have been doing that, too- but more on that later). I've been wanting to try Shibori for a long time; moreover I've been wanting to rip into my stash of Pre-Reduced Indigo Crystals from Dharma Trading Company for a long time. But I was INTIMIDATED! I think I have had those things in a craft drawer for 6 months, guys. Upon reading the instructions, though, there was no need for the worry. I just mixed up the crystals with color remover (Dharma) and Soda Ash (also Dharma) and it worked like magic. Apparently getting indigo to go from a plant growing in the field to a substance that is able to dye clothes takes a massive amount of time and energy. In this case Dharma has done all the hard work for you-- yay!!

One of the most incredibly satisfying aspects of dyieng with indigo is watching the dye react with its environment; when you dip the fabric in the water ( and then take it out only a few minutes later) it appears as a light green-ish yellow color. Then as you hold it in your hand the dye starts to oxidize immediately in the open air and you watch as your fabric turns into the most delicious deep deep blue- black. The trick apperently is in allowing the fabric to oxidize for a good amount of time (at least 20 minutes a go); THIS is what keeps the color nice and dark, not staying submerged in the dye bath. Then you can dip the fabric in again and repeat the process as many times as you want; each successive dip darkens the indigo color of your final product. I'm going to go more in depth on the actual process of Shibori in my next post but I just quickly wanted to give a shout out to my favorite and most inspiring indigo images....

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