torsdag 22 maj 2014

Dyeing with Indigo in Sanxia

Earlier this week I joined a tour with the Community Center Taipei to go to Sanxia. Indigo dying! I've been wanting to do this for years! I love this! (well, what else could you expect from me...?)

A group of maybe 13-15 people took the MRT and then the bus over to Sanxia. Quite a nice trip over there. Bus stop was "Sanxia Old Street", and after that a 5 minute walk over to the Indigo dying Center in Sanxia. I've been in Sanxia before, and I knew it was famous for Indigo Dying, but I had no idea where the Indigo center was!

In chinese, indigo dying is called 藍染, which means blue dyeing. I remember when I was a teenager we used to make "batik", or simply called tie dye. However, last couple of years people have started to refer this to a japanese term instead, Shibori. I've also heard of Shibori via Thread Cult, but I never knew it was more or less the same, just that you use Indigo instead of chemical dies.

First we got instructions how to achieve different patterns, and after we've manipulated the fabric to everyones wish, it was time to start with the coloring process!
First, dipping the white cloth in clean cold water. And then, straight in to the big barrel of indigo dying solution. Keep it there for 3 minutes, and when you take out your cloth - it's not blue - but green. Let it air for a couple of minutes to let the indigo oxidize for a while and you will see the green color turn to blue. Then we repeated the process at least 3 times, or more if you want even more intense indigo blue color.

After your fabric had dried somewhat you can take out the elastics, chopsticks, stones or whatever you've done to it, to let it hang dry completely.

We didn't have time to do everything at the center but had to take the bus and MRT back to Taipei city. It had been a very fun and HOT morning in Sanxia with little food to eat (Keep in mind that the Old Street will feed you nothing but croissants and ice cream in croissants! what would Taiwanese people do without 7-11 and all the other convenient stores??).

When we got home it was time to do the final step, rinse the fabric in cold water to wash all the excess dye out! And after that voilá!

Indigo Center

This is how you do it

Yes I can read, but I love these illustrations! They're so.. anthropological. Full of culture!

Indigo Center

Absolutely beautiful scene! All these indigo experiments that we did in class

My creations are the 2 on the right

All are different, all are beautiful

Now that I've tried it out, I can for sure say that I have the taste of Indigo! I would love to continue doing this. But actually next time, I'm gonna try to do this with what's called Chinese Gromwell, in chinese it's called 紫草 , meaning "purple grass". The procedure to obtain the color from the root is a bit different so I have to do some digging in chinese before I can get started. But I'm guessing - and hoping - it's going to be beautiful!! Who doesn't love purple? :)

Oh yes, and then of course I have all the chemical dyes that I bought when I had big plans to do all the coloring for my store by myself, but still I haven't gotten around to do that, especially when it's quite cheap to have someone do it for you. However, some places aren't better than you yourself, and just mix it up without any thought of different shades of a color! So yes, now, I am also inspired to continue with the chemical dying as well. Wish me luck!!

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