I finally did it! After years of reading about, dreaming about, and searching Instagram and Pinterest for shibori and indigo I took a workshop with Graham Keegan got my hands in the dye pot.
The adventure actually began a couple of weeks before the workshop when I went to Graham's studio & adopted a few indigo seedlings.
27 days later & they're thriving!
It's hard to believe looking at these very green plants that when you crush the leaves they become very blue indigo dye (with a few steps in between...) The plants are not frost-hardy so I keep them in this easy to move bin & bring them in at night when it gets cold. By March I should be able to get them into the permanent home, and by mid-summer I should have my first of two harvests. Then they'll flower and the seeds for next years crop will emerge.
Those few steps in between that I mentioned include turning the leaves into dye powder and I'm guessing that I'll have to augment my harvest with some store-bought dye.
The dye powder is mixed with fructose and lime (Graham recommends a cocktail shaker) and then is stirred into a larger batch.
Once the mix is well shaken, the stirring begins using a "witchy stick" that Graham recommends your forage for. The mix goes into the vat and is heated.
It's a bubbling cauldron that has an interesting coppery-green color.
As the pot heats the folding begins.
There are beautiful books written with specific instructions on folding techniques. I chose a more relaxed method and just folded, twisted, coiled and clamped. The first dip in the bath lasts about 30 seconds and comes out of the vat a sort of oily greenish color. As air hits the bundle it starts to turn blue. You let the bundle sit until air hits it all the way through. Once the fabric is oxyidized it goes back in the pot. I lost count of how many dips I finally did, but I'd guess somewhere between 15 and 20.
And magically, this is what appeared!