indigo wives tales


It was quite a long time ago (now more than 30 years) that i was in school as a ceramics major listening to the “rules” of what you can and can’t do in terms of molding, casting, drying, glazing, and firing porcelain and other clay bodies. Having turned my mind to porcelain exclusively, and being young and generally dumb but with a desire to please, I listened intently to all the do’s and don’ts. Of course, when it came to the don’ts or the can’ts I always wanted to know WHY. When I started my own porcelain business and had to look at things from a production point of view I started testing out all these theories in real time. After all, if I wanted my company to stay in business I needed to look at the production costs and frankly, some of these “rules” needed breaking in order to do that. Through experimenting and practice i found that there were quite a few things that could be thrown right out the window! Other things just needed tempering- an adjustment here and a tweaking there to ensure a successful end result. Often when people “in the know” found out how I was doing things they were surprised and even wondered if I was intentionally spreading misinformation to throw off any copyists. I never did major in rule following.

Fast forward to 30 years later when I decided to “change majors”…

What does any of this have to do with indigo you wonder? Well, when I started out on this shibori journey about 4 years ago, I didn’t even know what indigo was so you might say I was a clean slate. No preconceptions, no lists of do’s and don’ts. I even took a shibori workshop where we did a little indigo dyeing. (the workshop was terrible- I didn’t even go back to day 2- it was that bad. no names- the shop is long out of biz now) at the time I wasn’t interested in indigo really-it was the shibori that I was after.

The exposure to indigo in that moment surely didn’t inspire me to do any myself and it wasn’t until about 2 years ago that my curiosity was again aroused. So, I started reading, studying, and taking it all in. When I had compiled the list of do’s and don’ts based on all this research and hearsay, I ordered supplies and started in. Much like the experience with porcelain, I have separated out the facts from the wives tales, the wisdom from the ignorance. In my daily practice with indigo, I have learned its ins and outs-its tenor and its temperament- and all its moody blues. I have come up with a few unique techniques that have been said can’t be done. These are things that aren’t discovered through casual acquaintance with indigo- only with ardent and steadfast participation with its moody blues. Today, my original vat is 2 years old and a new one is around 1.5 months old.

I have been asked many times if, when and where I am doing an indigo workshop. I haven’t done one up to now for a variety of reasons. First, I don’t think I was ready or knowledgeable enough to give one until now. And then there is the matter of time. Not mine- the indigos time. It takes time. It’s also messy. I can’t really envision doing it justice in a 3-6 hour workshop at a show or anywhere else other than my own studio for that matter. A two day workshop here will only scratch the surface but can lead one to discover your own path in regards to indigo. So I am here to remind you that I am offering a 2 day indigo workshop here in my studio, Friday May 28th and Saturday May 29th. There is still room for 2 more and I am going to set a cut-off date of May 15th.

It will go on regardless of the number of participants (max # of 4). Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get right back to you.

So for now- it’s back to the vat!

3 thoughts on “indigo wives tales

  1. jennlui

    great to read about your journey with indigo glennis! i’m always so fascinated with how people come to the place they are… thanks!

    oooh an indigo workshop! wish we were closer (um well maybe in the same country for a start! ha!) i bet that would be a very magical 2 days… all the best!

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