I’ve recently dipped my gloved hands into the world of dyeing with the natural dye Indigo. Although this is a departure from my beloved Procion MX Fiber Reactive Dyes, I find it a refreshing change of pace. Because Indigo is a vat dye, in order for me to pattern each scarf, it was necessary for me to do some type of Shibori, the ancient Japanese process of what is called “Shaped Cloth Resist”. The broadest definition of shibori is simply when 2-dimensional cloth is given a 3-dimensional shape and then dyed. After the cloth has been dyed, washed and ironed, we see a record of both the shape that the cloth had taken as well as the amount of pressure that was used to hold that shape.
Each scarf is carefully pressed flat, and then folded into a neat little bundle, pressing with a hot iron every step along the way. The bundle is then subjected to a series of physical resists, either clamping pairs of shapes (a process called Itajime) or wrapping with string along a pole and compressing into a tight cylinder (Arashi Shibori). Once the physical resisting is complete, the bundles are dipped one at a time into the vat, carefully keeping the bundles submerged while I work the dye into the folded layers. The bundle is then removed from the vat, colored a vivid green, that oxidizes to the familiar indigo blue over the next half hour or so. Depending upon the strength of the vat and how dark I want the scarf to be, this dipping process will be repeated several more times before I’m ready to open up the bundle and expose the pattern with a big “Tah dah!!!”
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The scarf is generously sized at 17” x 80” and is made from a light, airy fabric that is 70% cotton/30% silk, the fabric is semi sheer and has a slight sheen from the silk
Care Instructions: Store this fabric out of direct sunshine, as prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause some fading to occur. This cotton/silk scarf can be hand washed in mild cleanser, such as shampoo. Hang to dry, then press with an iron. The dye has been set, but there may be a very slight residue of color in the first wash water.
Wearing: For ideas on how to wear a scarf, click here.