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Indigo dye experiments


I always like to make gifts for friends, mostly because I have such a hard time buying things for them instead. In particular, I like making gifts for my family, especially because they live so far away (in Indiana). For the holidays last year, I dyed tea towels with indigo dye and a japenese binding method called “shibori.”

Indigo dye is 100% natural and plant based, so it contains no chemicals at all. The patterns you get are from how the fabric is wrapped, bound, twisted, or tied together with string, rubber bands, clamps, and around poles.

dyeing process 2

Its really addicting and fun to use indigo dye. It has since opened up a whole world of dyeing possibilities to me and I only want to learn more and get better. For awhile I had been wanting a new bedspread, so I used the indigo dye vat and bought a white cotton duvet cover that I folded and then dyed. It turned out so great I posted it on facebook and got a few orders for items from friends. I have since decided to pursue natural dyeing experiments and dye a number of items with the intention of opening an Etsy shop in a few weeks.

Of course, natural dyeing isnt limited to just using indigo. I have played with natural pigments in my watercolor projects before, making my own pigments which I have talked about before from fun material such as cabbage and beets. Just the other dye when I was out on a stroll, there was a nearby yard littered with pretty pink petals from a magnolia tree that was in bloom. I wondered to myself what color would come from these petals? In the coming weeks I plan to spend time experimenting with other natural pigments, seeing what I can get from nature and how this can be translated to fabric. Fabric art is really cool and is definitely another design experiment in pursuit!

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One very exciting aspect of natural dyeing is anything plant based, such as cotton, linen, or silk – will take dye. Table clothes, placemats, more duvet covers, even fun fashion items can all be dyed. Oh the possibilities are endless!!


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