|These Indigo leaves have soaked overnight in water. See how blue the water is now? Once the Indigo water has been drained off, the leftover leaves (in back) can be used as a fertilizer/compost.|
|If these folks ever ask you to go to a class or lecture with them, do it. Charleston Museum people rock :) L to R: Neil Nohrden, Assistant Curator of History, Jan Hiester, Curator of Textiles, and Stephanie Thomas, Education Coordinator.|
|Once the leaves are removed, it is necessary to aerate the liquid. Father John used a fish tank aerator. The blue on the bubbles is what will eventually be the Indigo dye.|
|After aerating, it settles. That blue sludge on the bottom? Yep, Indigo! Next step is drying, then crushing into a powder, then mixing in water and various chemicals to further reduce the Indigo so that it will dye cloth or yarn.|
|He dyed 10 yards of cotton for us--and made it look easy. See how yellowy-green the fabric is inside the vat? Awesomeness in the making. Also note the fabric hanging on the walls, all perfectly Indigo dyed by our host.|
|Finished product, framed by the beautiful yard at Father John's place.|
These photos only give you glimpse into our morning--and if I hadn't lost the rest of them off my phone with the lastest iOS update (my fault--I should have backed them up sooner, but I didn't foresee issues and well, I'm grateful I had already emailed these to myself!), you would see so much more. I took copious notes and have been telling everyone who will listen about how much I learned and what a lovely time it was. Father John even served us a gourmet lunch, in the midst of teaching us so much about dyeing with Indigo! It was an experience I'll never forget.
I'll be passing on more of what I learned, plus giving you a chance to do some dyeing yourself at my next Indigo Dyeing Workshop at the Charleston Museum, Saturday, October 19, from 10am-12:30. More details and registration info at their website.