My mom and I attended an organic indigo vat dyeing workshop this past weekend hosted by the Canton Spinners and Weavers Guild and brilliantly taught by Catharine Ellis and held at the Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center in Minerva, OH. This was such an incredible workshop, that I have enough material to make several journal entries. Today, I just want to give a little overview and outline what I would like to cover in the next several entries.
First, let me tell you that aside from playing with 'dyeing' with rust, copper, and staining, I have not done any dyeing - not even tie-dyeing. So, I walked into this workshop knowing virtually nothing. Many of the other students have done some dyeing and some had even done some natural dyeing in the past.
Based on what people have told me, it is really rare to have a dyeing workshop where you actually learn the skills you need to go home and replicate the process in your own studio - but that is precisely how Catharine organized and taught this workshop. She began by demonstrating how to create and organic indigo vat using 1 of the 4 methods we were each going to do on a smaller scale - by creating a 5 gallon class indigo vat. She then guided us through producing the same vat on a smaller scale in a 1-quart mason jar.
It was so empowering to be given all the information we would need as well as hands-on practice to produce an indigo vat that we can scale up in our own studios.
In future entries, I would like to explain what I have learned from Catharine Ellis about
- the essentials of indigo vats & why organic indigo vats are way better than the other methods out there
- the 4 different types of indigo vats that we made in this workshop
- using a water-soluble paste to create a resist
- using shibori to create beautiful resists in indigo
- using indigo in a pigment form to paint on fabric
In the meantime, I would like to commend Kathy for organizing such a wonderful workshop as well as Patty for supporting the workshop with the use of the fabulous facilities at the Nature Center.
I highly recommend taking a natural dyeing workshop from Catharine Ellis if you get a chance.
I took a lot of photos over the weekend and many of them can be found in the gallery part of my website. I have organized the photos by theme to make them more useful. Here are the themes and links to each group:
- Class Vat
- Individual Vats
- Test Strips
- Resist Paste
- Mineral Vats (the pretty pink ones)
- Pigment Painting