Wednesday 1 & Thursday 2 September 2021, 11:00 - 13:00, Indigo Dyeing, Online Workshop with Nila House from India
Wednesday 1 & Thursday 2 September 2021, 11:00 - 13:00 BST (British Summer Time, London, UK)
Online workshop, hosted on Zoom by Nila House
Nila House opened in 2019, as a centre of excellence dedicated to platforming and persevering India’s textile heritage and supporting regenerative craft practices that carry long-term sustainability for the artisan and the environment.
Nila translates from Hindi to mean ‘Blue’, in reference to ancient, plant-based indigo dye that has captivated civilisations through history. Since its inception, promoting natural indigo practices has been at the heart of Nila’s work, encouraging artisans across India to return to traditional and regenerative natural indigo dyeing practices. The proliferation of synthetic indigo has had grave consequences for the soil and groundwater. It is this environmental degradation and long-term damage to the well-being of artisans that Nila is trying to counter through its pledge.
The Nila House team’s deep research into natural indigo has created a wealth of information and experience on setting up, maintaining and dyeing with a natural indigo vat. Indigo is often considered to be one of the most enigmatic natural dyes, requiring a precise science and a sensitive, attentive eye. Maintaining an indigo vat is often considered akin to taking care of a child, requiring patience and understanding, with the rewards being an entirely unique experience.
The Indigo workshop will be split into 2 hour sessions, across two days.
Day 1 – Introduction, Nila practices, farm to indigo , basics of vat and setting up of vat and quick run through towards the maintenance.
Day 2 – fermentation check, intro to dyeing, yarn, fabric and garments, pre-mordanting and post treatment, Shibori techniques and Q & A.
Further details on each session
The first session will begin with an introduction to indigo and a brief note on Nila’s on-going work with promoting natural indigo practices in India. Following the introductory note, Nila’s in-house natural vat expert will guide you through the process of settling up a 20 litre sour vat, using lime powder as the base and tamarind as the reducing agent. Your workshop guide will also show you how to ‘feed’ your vat so it remains healthy and replenished after every dye session.
On the second day, you will revisit your vat, which has now had a chance to sit overnight allowing the fermentation process to set in. The workshop guide will show you how to check the health and strength of the vat by measuring pH level and how to balance the levels to reach a desired strength, which will affect the colour of your indigo dip. Once the health of the vat is addressed, your workshop guide will take you through five, fun and easy to do dye techniques - yarn dyeing, Itajime or clamp-dye shibori, Arashi shibori, Bandhani and dip-dyeing. Ahead of the dyeing process, the workshop guide will also show you how to treat or prep your yarn and textile using natural fixing or mordanting agents.
The workshop is open to anyone with an interest in exploring natural indigo. Setting up and maintaining a 5 litre natural indigo vat is particularly suited for small scale studio experiments and for further research on indigo.
A material pack will be sent to participants prior to the workshop containing:
Indigo Vat Set-Up & Shibori Dyeing Kit:
- 80 gm Natural Indigo powder
- Natural mordant - Alum powder
- pH paper
- Muslin cloth for filtration
- Wooden stirrer
- 2 pre-treated, undyed handwoven bandanas
- 1 pre-treated, undyed Khadi stole
- 25g of pre-treated cotton yarn
- Wood resists in 2 shapes for clamp-dyeing
- 1 handmade, stainless steel clamp
- Wooden pole for Arashi shibori
- Thimble & butter paper for Bandhani
- 2 varieties cotton thread for Shibori
- A booklet explaining the processes
Participants will need to provide:
- 20 litre container, ideally a glass jar
- Access to warm and cold water
- Cap/lid to cover of jar overnight for fermentation
- Tamarind, soaked overnight – 160 gm
- Lime, soaked overnight - 240 gm
- Bowl to mix indigo
- Rubber gloves to work with (optional)
- A work table at a visible height so that the workshop guide can guide the progress
Please note: material packages are shipped on an insured, trackable delivery service. Any customs duties, delays, lost or undeliverable packages are the responsibility of the customer. Once a material package leaves the workshop tutors' hands with a tracking number, the seller has no further obligation to the buyer.
Workshop Cancellation Policy
All places reserved on workshops are non refundable.
If you require additional information about this workshop please contact Catherine Harris, email@example.com.