This 14 page book is intended to be an introduction to working with indigo. Natural dyeing is an artform that is currently being revived, many traditions and techniques have been lost since the introduction of synthetic dyes, which were more economical and predictable. Because of this, many master dyers abandoned these ancient techniques or were not able to pass them on.
Indigo is a plant with an extensive history throughout humanity, being worked with as a dye by many cultures across the globe. Presented here is an introduction to working with indigo in all stages from plant to powder, and a brief history of its use around the world.
This book is just the beginning of the story, meant to inspire you to learn more on the topic, but also provide the guidance and information you need to start dyeing with indigo, and growing indigo in a home garden. It includes recipes for dyeing with purchased indigo as well as dyeing with home-grown fresh leaves, and lots of references and recommendations for learning more.
As we begin to consider the implications of chemical dyes on our environment and our bodies, we turn once again to these naturally derived art forms. There is a plethora of information on the internet, some of it I’m pretty sure was made up, and some of it is incredibly informative. I have tried to include my favorite resources in the back of this book to help you weed out any overly chemical or ineffective techniques.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT THE ONLY WAY TO DYE WITH INDIGO. I am not an indigo “master.” I’ve never studied under any one teacher for an extended period of time, and I don’t have any connection to a long-term lineage of indigo dyers. I’ve been growing indigo for a few years, but dyeing with indigo on a regular basis for many more. I saw a gap in the current selection of indigo literature that I felt needed filling: easily understandable information on growing and dyeing with fresh leaf indigo, as well as detailed recipes (for both homegrown and purchased indigo) that do not require toxic or highly caustic chemicals. Other folks may have different ways of working with indigo, and that is totally OK! This is what has worked from my experience, please feel free to try your own ways.