Recent ribbon dyeing has kept me away from the indigo (but also keeping the bills paid-thank you!) but while I have been wrapping and dyeing, the indigo has been growing! It’s about a foot tall now.
Which leads me to wondering..as usual. What if I harvested this indigo and set about composting it? How will I compost it? Apparently, it takes 100 days according to Rowland Ricketts. He has completed construction of a composting shed (so cool!) but I have no such shed at my disposal nor will there be one. But in usual Shibori Girl form, I will figure something out. Perhaps in a sort of Heath Robinson sort of way…
I understand that the floor of the shed is made of sand, rice hulls, and clay in order to draw moisture away from the composting indigo. I imagine the shed maintains an even temperature and humidity and the floor draws a stable temp from the ground. The shed provides protection from sunlight, rain, and wind- not to mention bugs and such things…I will learn more of what is required.
Now how to create such an environment here in the yard… I am wondering.
Also wondering- what if I were to dry the indigo leaves and just dump them into a fermentation vat? I wonder where (not if!) this has been done before.
As always, I may need to return to my source- Japan. And it just so happens I am leaving on Monday for just such a trip. To finalize details and make a few visits, see a few folks, and have a few meetings for the 2013 Silk Study Tour. I have a lot on my plate! Fortunately, I will see Sato-san as she is having an exhibition in Tokyo while I am there. Before she started dyeing indigo she worked up north for several years for an indigo farmer. I think she will have some answers to some of my questions and it will be so very good to see her again! I will also meet a new sericulture farmer, a new natural dye master, test out a new ryokan, visit the Yokohama Silk Museum and meet with it’s former Director. In Tokyo, I will be hosted by Makoto san who’s wife is a long time friend from Austin who always has a fantastic collection of Japanese and vintage fabrics at the Houston Quilt Festival each year. I will also meet up with Masae whose family specialized in kanoko shibori for 4 generations out of Narumi, as well as with her friend Watanabe san and hope to hear more about the artist shop we visited last time.
A day at a temple sale, just to browse and do some wandering- good for the soul. And back just in time to post the Indigo Mandala class!
Also looking to collect a few artifacts to be loaned for the upcoming Silk Exhibit at Quilt Festival this year-Experience Silk, Then and Now. Did I mention this before?
The exhibit will include exceptional silk works from teachers, artists and authors prominent in the textile/quilt world. It is also out our aim to show silk “from moth to cloth”, featuring historical silk pieces, as well as educational displays of silk production. The exhibit is in conjunction with the Silk Experience festival classes/lectures, sponsored by Quilts, Inc., and the Special Exhibits coordinators. The prime organizers of the exhibit include Maggie Backman, Glennis Dolce and Katrina Walker and a host of other Silk Experience volunteers.
In many ways we intend this silk exhibit to be a collaboration and partnership in the continuing goal of education, creativity, and commerce.
And, the silkworms are getting crazy-big-fat and healthy!! Have lined up my silkworm sitters who are excited to have them again. They might even be starting to spin when I return! Did I mention Mawata Madness here already? Come and work with some of my very own cocoons- from my very own 2nd generation! It’s the weird things that excite me…
Gotta go-out of fresh mulberry and the cats need feeding…