Alchemy in blue

It took 40 dips in indigo to create these blues. Each white linen piece took a turn in the vat 10X, and amazingly there is still color left in the vat for more. My vat is a living thing. I stir it daily - three times throughout the day to keep it breathing.

Dyeing with indigo is a moving meditation. I get lost in the vat, in the flow of the fibers in my hands, the magic of the alchemy. The blue you see doesn’t come easy; indigo pigment is not soluble in water like most plant color. Indigo must go through a reduction process in order for the dye to show itself. And even in that form, it’s known as ‘indigo white’ as the dye vat liquid looks pale yellow upon first glance.

But after each dip when the piece is pulled out of the vat, the indigo molecules bond with the fiber as they meet the air. This starts out a yellowy green, changing slowly, finally, to blue. It’s here where the indigo molecule is changed back into its insoluble state, where the pigment and fiber have bonded. And in order to create deep, dark blues, the color must be layered. The first begins as the blue sky on a clear sunny day, and builds to the dark twilight of a new moon. It is magic before your eyes.

Got something in your closet you’re looking to revive with all the shades of blue in the sky above? Let’s talk