INDIGO DYEING

Juana Gutierrez from Teotitlán del Valle in Mexico also makes her own Indigo dyes in her workshop. This post shows the preparation from the Indigo cake to the dyed skein.

This is the dried Indigo cake.

It is then cracked and ground to a fine powder on the mortar and pestle.

The 3 ingredients shown are used for the dyebath

The  huitle leaf is added to the vat in a very generous quantity, the leaves are torn off the twigs and cut and remain in the vat as they have the function of a reducing agent and therefore replacing the hydrosulfite.

This is the Indigo bearing plant locally called anil.

Huitle shrub which is added to the vat as reducing agent.

Wood ash acts as the alkalising substance and replaces the soda ash, and a ph of 11 is desirable. The ash of 40 kg of wood is dissolved in about 100 l of water and left to settle until the water is clear. It is then scooped off gently without disturbing the bottom. This ashwater has the huitle and the Indigo added . The bucket is covered and left in the sun to ferment until it has a red, shimmery crust. There is no "flower"and the water is meant to be green. It is then ready to dye. The skein is only dipped once in the indigo bath that has a temperature of 40c.

Artisanal textiles and dye workshops   Sydney​

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