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What is Natural Dyeing?


What is natural dye process? Natural Dyeing is the process of using natural dyes that are extracted from natural sources, such as plants, minerals and insects. You can extract beautiful colors from leaves, flowers, bark and roots, as well as rocks, fruits and vegetables to dye natural fibres, textiles, wood, leather and more.


Indigo dyeing is a unique natural dye due to its dye activation process requiring fermentation of the Indigo plant (Indigofera Tinctoria) and it’s need to remove oxygen from water in order to bind to fibre. This process is pure alchemy and will blow your mind!


This is more than a workshop. This is a nature-based + playful immersion that takes place in a container dedicated to arts expression therapy and ecology.



The workshop


In this 3 hour workshop we will work with the 1-2-3 organic indigo dye vat method created by Indigo Dye Master, Michael Garcia. What is a vat? A vat is essentially a well curated dye bath (that is activated through a specific chemistry process) to dip our fibre pieces into, creating rich and earthy blue hues in this case, from the mysterious and beautiful natural dye of Indigo. The organic indigo method is unique in that it is a slower but deeply rewarding process that allows participants to get a feel for this ancient process. The oldest findings of Indigo dye go back 6,000 years and have been found all over the globe in Mayan ruins, African tribal wear, Japanese art and traditional dress, Moroccon textiles, Egyptian hieroglyphs and more.


Experience the magical process of dipping organic cotton mull scarves into the vat to then witness the dye bond to the fibre when removed from the vat. When the cotton first leaves the vat it will be a yellow/green color and literally change color before your eyes from green to  bright turquoises and finally, indigo blue.


Throughout the workshop we will go over indigo dye methods, fibre processes to ensure the best dye outcomes, the history of indigo, facts on indigofera tinctoria and how to apply at home methods. Indigo dyeing is a wonderful skill to have in order to breathe life into old textiles through up-cycling and reworking fibre. Your facilitator Blaine received knowledge on traditional methods of indigo dyeing working under indigo dye master, Olga Reiche of Antigua, Guatemala


The process:


1 - We will learn about shibori inspired folding methods to apply to the large organic cotton mull scarves provided. Shibori is a Japanese resist dye method that offers a wide range of potential design work. In this workshop we use a simple method using rubber bands, wood, string, marbles and more to create beautiful abstract or geometric patterns.


2 - Activation of the vat. Your facilitator, Blaine, will explain how to activate an indigo dye vat and create what is called the Stock Solution. This process is tedious but once skillfully learned, simple and beautiful. We will activate our vats and wait for the reduction process as we fold the cotton scarves. Once the dye vats are activated, we will dip our folded pieces! Typically we do 3-4 dips in this workshop offering in order to achieve a range of medium blue hues. Each piece will be unique and different due to the fibre being organic. (All cotton is prepped and scoured to ensure quality dye outcomes).


3 -  The Reveal! After a few dips and witnessing the magic of indigo take place on your cotton, we will finally unwrap the pieces and remove the resist dye materials to fully open and unfold the large scarf. This step is the MOST rewarding and experiential! Finally, these magical designs reveal themselves, often animals can even be seen within the designs that have been intricately put together! Care instructions will be provided to close the session.


This workshop is rooted in ecology, slow fashion initiatives, the science of play, nervous system based regulation practices, ceremony, ritual, connection and community.


No previous experience is required, Ages 10+ are welcome to participate. 


No refunds are available due to the supply-based nature of the workshop but a dye kit will be sent to anyone who was not able to attend. 

Indigo Dyeing July 10

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