23.7.10

Harvest

The indigo was beginning to flower so it was time to cut it. So far I've harvested about a third of the nine plants.
Japanes indigo
Yesterday I tried dyeing with the fresh leaves. The process is used by the master dyer, Sachio Yoshioka, and I've learnt about it from this book about his workshop. Dorothea Fischer has used it too and shows all the steps with photos on her website.
harvest time
The leaves were finely chopped and kneaded in water with vinegar for quite some time. The liquid was strained, the leaves kneaded some more and strained again. It was interesting to feel the mass of leaves diminishing under my hands almost to nothing as the juice was gradually squeezed out of them.

The fabric is dyed in the resulting green liquid which smells pleasantly of freshly cut grass. This dye is used cold and is slightly acidic making it perfect for silk.

After about an hour of working the fabric in the dye it's become much bluer. Then it's time to rinse it in clean water and hang to dry.

The result is a fresh and bright turquoise blue, unlike any that ever comes out of the vat.

On the whole, Japanese indigo has been a very rewarding and easy dye plant to grow even in containers in a limited space. I'm glad it gave me the chance to dye with the fresh leaves which is more straightforward than reducing indigo in a vat and the colour is wonderful.

23 comments:

jude said...

what a gorgeous shade...it is interesting following your adventures with indigo.

Susana Estevam said...

what a beautiful colour!
Thank you!

Lisa at Lil Fish Studios said...

Oh my goodness! sigh That is just stunning.

anastasia said...

very interesting dyeing method, must try this!

lotta said...

Beautiful! I am very intrigued.

sweetmyrtle said...

wonderful wonderful Eva!
did some indigo dyeing in my twenties and have recently purchased some natural powdered indigo to try again but would much rather grow some seeds and have an indigo harvest! the leaves look beautifully rich in the bath.
inspiring post.

Summer said...

It turned out beautifully! It seems a much more straight forward method than the vat, but both methods certainly have their merit!

ger said...

It looks wonderful - + like it has been a very pleasant experience alltogether...

Christina said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, its brilliant.

Irina said...

worth every effort isn't it? how thoughtful of you to share and the whole process - from getting the seeds first to the final results:) the colour is beautiful

Martine said...

beautiful color...................
I've worked in this way with woad, have only one indigo plant wich is not enough for dying.
XXXm

Sweetpea said...

ooooh, what a heavenly color! Thank you for posting about using the leaves...

Anthropomorphica said...

Wonderful shade! Well done!

melampyrum said...

Thanks for sharing Eva, it looks interesting and funny... and the blue came out beautiful and so fresh!

Leililaloo said...

amazing! it's gorgeuos..

fuliane said...

Krásná úroda!

joni said...

what a triumph! i know the struggle of indigo vats, so this is...triumphant!

iNdi@ said...

delicious...i've had similar results [more turquoise in tint] with fresh woad

Velma said...

gorgeous color, a new method for me. thanks.
oh, and i can't wait to see where this fabric takes you.

Judy Martin said...

Wow, I am in love.

Clare Wassermann said...

what a wonderful colour

yuko nagai said...

That looks just incredibly beautiful, never knew you can actually use the indigo fresh! Thanks for the post-

Dustin Kahn said...

I just ran across your blog and was interested to read about the method you use for dyeing with indigo. So far I have only used methods where the indigo is reduced, so I look forward to experimenting with vinegar using my final indigo harvest for the season.