Indigo Dyeing Workshop at Praxis

I had the best day on Saturday. My darling husband took charge of the kids all day –honestly, I could stop there,with 3 little kids, a day alone is a magical and rare treat, pretty much no matter where I am going.  🙂 But to make the day even better, I took a workshop on Indigo Dyeing at . Praxis is a new fiber arts center in east Cleveland that holds both Cleveland Institute of Art classes and community classes. I had been wanting to check it out, so when I saw that they were holding an indigo dyeing workshop, I signed right up….actually I decided I would take the class, forgot to sign up, and scrambled to call and get a spot 2 days before.

Luckily for me, there was still room and I got the check out the amazing studio space and play with indigo for a day.

I love dyeing fabric with indigo.  The whole process is like magic. You wet your cloth, dip it in the vat of yellowish liquid (only the top looks purplish- blue like in the photo above) and when you pull it out, you get to watch the color turn from green to deep blue as the dye oxidizes in the air. It really is amazing.

The focus of the class was  on different types of dyeing techniques  – mainly shibori dyeing.  So, it thought it would be fun to share the before and after shots of what I did.

 Dip Dyeing

Dip dyeing is done exactly as you would think – dipping the fabric into the indigo vat.  You then let it oxidize- turning blue-and then dip again, a bit lower on the fabric – making a nice gradient.  Unfortunately, my sample fell into the sink while hanging on a rack oxidizing….sigh.  We will call the mottled effect…interesting.

Clamp Resist

For the clamp resist, we each experimented with different techniques. I folded the fabric on the bias back and forth into a small square. Then I clamped it and dipped the whole thing in the vat.  Only the exposed parts of the fabric capture dye.  Unfolding it was fun – you never know exactly how it is going to turn out!

Stitch Resist

I tried two techniques on the same sample.  On the top, I wound thread around sections of cloth, making very cool pointy spikes – a spiderweb technique.  On the bottom I accordion folded the fabric, stitched 1/2 circles up to the fold and gathered it up.  I love how the little bundle looks like some kind of strange spiky sculpture.  Like with the clamp resist, unfolding it is 1/2 the fun!

Pole Wrapping

This is probably my favorite for the group.   Just like it sounds – you wrap the fabric around a pole, baste it in place, scrunch it down and dye it.  The end result has such a soft rippled effect.  I used the same technique to dye my yard of silk fabric.

I had a great time at Praxis this last weekend.  Checking out a new fiber arts studio and experimenting with an indigo vat  – what could be better?  🙂