indigo mood

OK. I am officially obsessed. I may need help. Perhaps a 12 step program. Or an intervention.


All I want to do is mess with the indigo vats. I’ve scoured the web for images, words, inspiration and more in regards to indigo. I’ve found some great stuff but what surprises me even more is that there are really so few artists/textilians who are dyeing with indigo on a regular basis. I see many one shot stabs at it here and there but only a few dedicated to discovering it’s mysteries and allure. Perhaps because it is one of those things that, requiring lots of practice and repetition, loses it’s allure. I’ve come across Indigo Night Owl on Flickr & Facebook, of course there’s Neki in Barcelona, waterfall, Ito de, Jenny Balfour-Paul and others but really I’m sure there are more out there. Of course I am referring only to those available on the web and I know for a fact there are others (for example in Japan) who are not accessible online. Somehow I feel the need to connect with others with the same obsession.

The color of sky and water. The promise of night. A range of blues to astound! A temperamental vat to confound. Indigo!

I’m also mesmerized by ombre dyeing with the indigo. Save me. I need help!

( you can encourage the obsession with the purchase of the 12mm silk charmuese scarf on my etsy site. It’s $75. Trust me, it’s a steal. I’ll even sew some beads onto the corners if you like. size is 11″x 56″above ) I’m posting it there until Tuesday when if still unsold it will be delivered to a local shop. I’m working up a collection of indigo pieces for the upcoming Quilt Festival in Long Beach.

Will get back to the Japan posting soon. Promise.

-forgot to mention
there are only two open spots left for the dye workshops. one on each of the two august dates. See the upcoming classes link above for details and email me right away if interested. I will definitely fill these two spots at the LB Quilt Festival if they are not gone by then. I’ll make sure the vats are working but the focus is on acid dyes- I’m sure I can fit in at least a quickie demo though. Indigo workshop another time.

-off to go see Steel Parade perform at the beach in Dana Point! ( i’m the CD salesgirl! ha!)

18 thoughts on “indigo mood

  1. Lorie

    really scary, glennis, I mean, the blue stuff is all over the place here too. I sure wish I lived out there, I’d collaborate w/you on an entire indigo work shop, dying, sewing, etc.. I totally get where you are at. I love it so too. I’m wondering about doing something in the back yard w/ a big plastic bin or trashcan or something..?

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  2. whereishenow

    i saw a show (on american pbs) about a national treasure in japan.. a woman who grew–(the show was old and the woman was old… probably not with us anymore) her own indigo and wove her own cloth and dyed it…. amazing show….. amazing history of cloth and dye in this country……

    seriously seriously close to buying that scarf…….

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    1. shiborigirl Post author

      i have seen a pbs show on the national living treasures- it’s been a while though- have to look that up and watch again. unfortunately, scarf is gone…

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  3. beth

    glennis- it’s beautiful!

    i’ve got some ombre-type shibori samples that I started last year and am just not happy with them. Colors are not discharging to what I’d like, and leaving me unimpressed with them. Or at least not impressed enough to find them, iron them, take pics, list etc. They may just be waiting to be used in a scrap quilt.

    I have not yet really entered the world of indigo dyeing. Maybe now that the garden is mostly done….

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    1. shiborigirl Post author

      perhaps you might want to make up some swatch cards for all your colors and do an additional discharge sample for each so you know ahead what color each will discharge to.. you need to start with repeatable dye recipes though for predictable results.

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      1. beth

        that would be on that never ending list of “ways to organize my dyeing better”.

        Swatches, printing up recipe cards and getting them into the binder instead of taped over my sink where they get splattered, getting print paste made ahead of time, wiring the basement studio area for better lighting

        etc etc etc

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  4. Lisa

    Hee, hee. Welcome to my obsession! My sensei is an indigo artist in Hawaii (I think the only full-time one), but he’s not on the web. I set up my instant indigo vat in a 5 (4?) gallon plastic pail in the backyard last fall and while it is still going (with various upkeep attempts), I think I’m ready to start a new one, especially now that I’ve found new instructions available online! Love it!

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  5. shiborigirl Post author

    i wonder about the necessity of starting a new one completely. seems you can just go ahead and add to it. one of my vats is over a year old. in japan, they just keep adding to them-for decades!

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  6. Joan

    I love love indigo. I’ve played with it once before, long ago. Are you using synthetic or natural. Synthetic has a real interesting sweet smell. Where can I find info on your workshops?

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    1. shiborigirl Post author

      my current vats are synthetic indigo. synthetic indigo is chemically identical to natural indigo . having worked with both, my experience is that they both have that unique indigo smell. i am getting ready to start another vat using some natural indigo as well as one using the pre reduced indigo now available. apparently it is very difficult to tell the difference between the two without using a color spectrophotometer. i think the main reason why people use the synthetic version is because it is less expensive to make indigo from petroleum than it is to grow it in plants. of course the Japanese dyers i am familiar with use the more expensive natural Japanese sukomo as they are devout purists of the art form and are also committed to the survival of the few indigo farmers and sukomo producers left in Japan.

      you can check the link in the blog header to see current classes as well as sign up on my constant contact list in the sidebar to get the newsletter announcements.

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  7. sara

    Your work is just gorgeous!

    Indigo is so fascinating but I haven’t tried it. After seeing your photos I think I have to put it on my to-play with list.

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