indigo-dye

This week, we were so excited to welcome Graham Keegan (@yesgraham) and his crew to our farm for the DC area stop on the 2019 Indigo Tour! Graham and company have been on the road since late April, making their way across the country from Los Angeles to Vermont bringing the magic of the indigo plant to numerous locations along their route. They pulled up in their mobile workshop (a white van) in the mid afternoon and within a couple of hours had unloaded an entire indigo art studio. The event began with an indigo seedling give-away, free to anyone who had signed up via a link posted on social media. Several people showed up just to get their hands on this most sought after plant and left with enough to begin their own dye garden.

Indigo has a long history as a plant textile dye dating back to the ancient world. The rich and vibrant blue color has been highly valued for its beauty for thousands of years. There is evidence of indigo used in Egyptian linen mummy cloths from around 2400 BC. Although the ancient techniques in the art of indigo dyeing have largely given way to synthetics and mass production in the textile industry, fiber artists such as Graham are committed to keeping the art and knowledge alive. At Lady Farmer, we are especially interested in the role of such techniques in creating beautiful, sustainable garments.

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The seedling giveaway was followed by a two hour, in-depth and hands-on class. Though it was a hot May afternoon, the sun was welcome and a wonderful group gathered to hear Graham teach about the entire Indigo dyeing process from seed to final product! We got to hear about how the color is actually extracted from the leaves, how to make our own vats, then finally try our hand at dyeing our own cotton bandanas using the nifty tools he brought to help us learn to make cool patterns.

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We’re so happy to have had this fun and inspiring workshop at the Lady Farmer farm. We look forward to many more as we explore the many sustainable and beautiful choices for our everyday lives. We also can’t wait to get our own vat going!

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