6 April 2015

I am very pleased to be able to bring authentic hand dyed indigo clothes to you at Sister Bazaar.  Much effort goes into producing this lovely traditional craft, and supporting the continuation of this art of India is important to me.

I must mention a feature of indigo dyed clothes that many of you are familiar with, the colour will release during initial washes!  The excess indigo dye sits between the cotton fibers, wash separately.  Your indigo dyed clothes will gently fade like much-loved jeans.  Do not wear your new indigo over light colours until it's been washed several times.

Indigo dye made from the indigofera tinctoria has been used for centuries to colour clothes.  The cultivation and processing of the indigo plant into dye was a long and arduous process causing noxious vapours as it fermented.  Today almost all printers in India use a synthetic indigo that is very close in process to the plant based dye. Our printer recently explained to me how he prepares his dye bath.

this is the twelve-foot deep indigo pit.  The printer cultivates this dye bath carefully (I compare it to the fermentation process of wine-making) and in the evenings he cleans out sludge and refreshes the dye bath.  This way he can continue to use the pit for several weeks until the dye bath is exhausted and must be replaced.
women of the family are printing "DHABU" resist paste with wooden blocks

the dhabu printing paste is homemade from clay, lime powder and natural tree resin

the cotton voile has been resist printed with woodblocks, and sprinkled with sawdust

the cloth is dyed once and then resist printed a second time
closeup after the second printing

Cloth resting after the first dip, indigo must oxidize to develop it's blue shade, it air dries from green to blue within minutes.  The cloth is spread to dry in the sun before the next printing.

self at the indigo printers' workshop, happy in my favourite blues!

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