The Messy Beauty of Indigo

Indigo; the ancient plant based dye that has been around for centuries. It is one of the oldest known textile dyes, the oldest piece ever found was from 6000 years ago! Clearly, this stuff is good, otherwise it would have stopped being used instead of spreading all over the world. Both natural and synthetic indigo dye is used in textile manufacturing on just about every continent. 

Indigo is beautiful (there is no denying that) BUT it is messy! No matter how hard I try I will probably never be a "clean" dyer. I'll use gloves but somehow will still stain my hands. I'll wear an apron but still stain my clothes. I'm that person. So when I decided I wanted to try dyeing with indigo again, post art school, I had to figure out how to do it without completely destroying my house. In school, the area used for indigo has the floor completely covered in plastic and tools used only for indigo (easily recognizable because they are completely blue). Working out of my house usually doesn't limit me too much but I felt the limitations this time. Luckily I was offered the use of an old bathroom that isn't really used much anymore and on deck to be renovated. Thank goodness! I tried to be fairly neat but there was blue EVERYWHERE! It looked like a smurf murder scene. I'm not kidding. Think of the goriest movie you have ever scene and then instead of red subtitute blue. That's what I was dealing with. 

Fortunately it was nothing a bit of scrubbing couldn't handle. There was a bit of staining but 98% of it I was able to wash away. The process was totally worth it because the silk scarves turned out beautifully! Here are a few pictures I took of them:

If you get an opportunity to work with indigo, ideally in a dye studio, you should definitely take it. But you have been warned!