Turning Archive 2006

Subject:
Indigo dyeing process- long

John Veerkamp
>Indigo is one of many anchient dyes. I was got into dyeing fibers ie wool, cotton and silk , because my wife is a fiber artist and one of her guild events was living history presentations. I went to one about 15 years ago and got intrigued by natural dyes. Been dyeing since.
Indigo is disolved in a strong alkaline(lye for me) and then the lye is neutralized by an acid. The indigo in solution is pale yellow green. The dye bath is slightly on the acidic side to keep the indigo from precipitating out of solution. The process after preparing the dye bath is simple. The fiber or wood is submerged in the dye water for several minutes and then removed. As the air hits the dye it oxidizes and turns blue. Very cool! To get a darker color like the HF successive dunkings are used.
The entire pieces were submerged/dyed and when dried the bottoms and inside or outside were re-turned to reveal the white maple again.

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