Indigo Dyeing Workshops

Japanese Indigo

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.

Indigo Dyeing Workshops for 2021 have been cancelled. Hopefully next year the pandemic will allow for us to safely hold workshops again. In the meantime, Martha will continue to experiment with her indigo and other natural dye plants. 
Ken Cultivating test row of Japanese Indigo in the field with Suffolk Horses
Indigo Dyed Yarn On Indigo Leaves
Heating the Indigo Leaves
Squeezing out the Leaves
Indigo Dye Pot
Yarn in the Dye Pot
Spinning up Japanese Indigo dyed wool