Jacky and I held our first indigo dyeing workshop last Saturday. To honor Japan and the influence the Moon has in Japanese culture I called our workshop Indigo Moon. I don't claim to be experts on indigo, but having had some first hand experience with indigo dyeing with the masters in Japan as well as lot of research from books etc., I feel that I do know enough to share with others.
Teaming up with Jacky makes teaching fun. Jacky has been a purchasing officer for over twenty years, so she managed to obtain indigo supplies from Japan for us. The indigo is the same type as the one I brought back with me from Japan.
Let me walk you through our Indigo Moon Workshop. I would attend this workshop myself if I wanted to learn about indigo dyeing!!! That says a lot, right? Welcome to Indigo Moon...
A sign at the gate pointed in the right direction. There were two more signs as you enter the gate just to make sure that the participants entered through the back entrance of the house.
I hanged the noren at the gate. Norens are mostly used at restaurants in Japan, but I like the look of it on the gate. The photo is taken from the inside facing outwards because with the greenery and splash of red it is nicer than looking in.
When you enter through the noren gate you are faced with many indigo flags that I hung around the deck where we were teaching. Beyond the deck is my back garden with some parts where indigo is growing at the moment. I served green tea with mochi (Japanese rice cakes) to get everyone into the mood for dyeing.
Jacky welcomed the participants with introductions and handout sheets, then we were ready to begin dyeing. We started the first technique with Itajime Shibori (blocked method). After the first dip Joni was oxidizing her Itajime piece. I like watching Joni tenderly fondling her piece.
My favorite part is the participants opening their dyed pieces for the first time. Lynda and Jillian look very happy with the result! The piece looks like the result of professional dyers not first timers! Good job girls!
We strung the pieces out to dry in the garden. I love this bit too. While the first batch was drying we prepared for the next methods, indigo moon and ice dyeing.
I love dyeing moons and I'm well equipped with everything I need to dye them. Moons are easy to dye, but to get a good result you have to do it just right. I have never been taught how to dye indigo moons. I invented the method up myself. I'm very proud of my moons and have given them away to friends to add to their stitching projects.
We had a quick lunch together and we were ready for our afternoon lesson on Shibori stitching. We moved indoor for stitching because it started to rain. We were glad for the rain, but I wish it wasn't on that day! It took longer to Shibori stitch, but we used the time to chat while stitching. The rain got heavier so we moved in to dye on the covered deck, no worries!
Some of the results of Shibori dye. We had to hang them under the cover because of the rain. We were very pleased to have the rain because we had not had rain in the previous four weeks.
Joni was admiring her blue fingers. Even though everyone wore gloves we couldn't help getting blue fingers. It's part of indigo dyeing. Indigo dyes anything natural and fingers and nails are natural!
The look on their faces tell all. Jillian was very happy with the result of her Shibori scarf. Jillian used cotton fabric she said she had for years for this scarf.
Jacky stitched up a piece using chevron stitch on a very thin Japanese cotton that I got from Ziguzagu. It dyed so well and after only one dip. Beautiful, Jacky.
What gorgeous scarf Jillian. Nothing like walking out of a workshop wearing a scarf you created yourself. Even though blue is not your colour. Indigo is more than just blue. It's the history of blue colour!
Last but not least! The next day I dyed a scarf for myself so as not to waste what was left in the vat. This is Indigo Moon at it's best! I love it... I really enjoyed the workshop, and afterward Jacky and I sat and reflected on our day. It was just like spending a day playing with the dye like we often do! Thanks ladies for your support of our very first indigo workshop.
I will be away over Easter for two weeks starting from this Saturday March 23th. I might not be able to blog because I'm only taking my iPad. Since Google introduced the new Blogger application I can't blog using iPad. It only lets me add one photo at a time. I will take lots of photos while I am away, and for those of you following me on FB and Instagram I will post them online while I'm away.
Happy Easter everyone.
Until next time