I just had the highlight of my summer in Sonoma last weekend. My talented friends Myrna, Katrina, Sonya, Patty, Shelly, ReCheng and Neiley drove up to the wine country to spend the weekend with me indigo dyeing fabric, paper and even a few ceramics.
Last summer I took a five week indigo dyeing class with Barbara Shapiro. I left the class with a wonderful recipe for a Greener Indigo formula. The best part of the vat is that it is ecologically sensitive and has no fumes. It's also really easy to start and to manage. We left the class with several useful handouts and a lot of dyed fabric. Take Barbara's class or workshop and you'll have access to her recipe which is derived from Michel Garcia's indigo formula. Starting the vat was WAY easier than I imagined. Well, at least once I learned how to read a ph test strip accurately!
On Saturday morning, seven lovely ladies arrived with piles of fabric to experiment with.
We spent the morning clamping, tying and bundling and dropped our fabric into a Synthropol solution (another bonus, no pre-mordanting!) to soak while we enjoyed a potluck lunch with some of my Southern iced tea.
After lunch we got to dyeing!
We pulled our fabric from soaking (there was a lot of awesome fabric in the mix).
Let me tell you this vat was potent which was good because we dyed a lot of fabric! Everyone's personality came through, some people with very controlled results.
And some with looser styles.
Meanwhile all of our kids ran amuk in the yard, picking ripe grapes and green beans to their hearts content.
After two days of many, many dippings the vat seemed exhausted until my friend Shelly told me to test the ph and just add more indigo to it. I did and the next day it was going again, like magic!
What a weekend! I plan to do it again and likely before summer ends as the vat does best at 82 degrees. The temperature on Saturday was exactly 82 degrees! How perfect was that?!