Martha has been experimenting with growing Japanese indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) at Orchard Hill Farm and using it for fresh leaf dyeing for a number of years. After stepping back from managing the Orchard Hill Farm CSA Garden she has enjoyed having more time to pursue her passion for natural dyes. Indigo is special because of its unique blue colour and long history as a natural dye for many cultures. Although there are various plants that contain the pigment called indigo, Japanese indigo is the most potent of the lot. We are inviting interested people to come for the day and play with Martha. During the workshop we will harvest the leaves of the Japanese indigo grown on the farm, extract the dye from the leaves and use it right away to dye some wool. The process of extracting the dye involves turning the dark fluid that comes from heating the leaves called ” indoxyl” into indigo by making the solution alkaline and then adding oxygen to it from the air. After that, a reducing agent is used to remove the oxygen from the fluid. The vat is then ready for dyeing. Careful attention must also be given to the temperature of the fluid throughout process. Martha will explain, demonstrate and give the opportunity for a fun hands on experience through it all. Participants will go home with 100 grams of indigo dyed yarn to use for their own projects. The workshop also includes a lunch featuring fresh produce grown on the farm.