I’ve been taking advantage of the good weather this May, to get outside and make some samples with organic cotton and natural indigo. I prefer working with natural dyes outside as I’m using some chemicals and mordents but it’s also more enjoyable too, to be making work from botanical sources and be outside in the garden working with them in nature.
The Natural Indigo vat takes a little while to prepare. Mixing two separate solutions and combining them. There is a fair bit of waiting involved and testing to make sure it’s working well before you go ahead with submerging the cotton. The part I enjoy the most is watching the fabric change from yellow/green to blue as it oxidises in the air. It’s quite magical to see. You can keep the indigo solution for a few weeks, so I’m hoping to get some time to make some more samples over the next month.
For my most recent series of samples I worked with increments of ten minutes, to produce 9 samples, gradually getting darker and darker blues. They look really beautiful when stacked together.
I also overworked some denim samples I produced a few weeks back, from up-cycled denim. It really brings out the blues of the denim and gives a crisper finish. The samples in denim are using traditional patchwork techniques including string work.