Last Sunday I spent a glorious day at French General'
s indigo dyeing workshop in a 19th century building at the South Street Seaport. (19th-Century turns out to mean "very badly lit," but intrepid dyers were not deterred.)
All I can say is, here are some photos of heaven in a 5-gallon bucket.
The background music: vinyl. There is no digital in indigo.
Our leader, Kaari Meng, a tower of indigo power, at the vat. I adored her workshopping style: a 15 minute chat (while we got started on our shibori) to impart Indigo ABCs and Shibori 101, and then an entire day of learning by doing. Kaari and crew were ever hovering near the vats, ready to answer the pressing questions that only occur to a person when she is up to her elbows in fragrant blue sludge. (And loving it!)
Confession: I took a cherished gift to the vat. Cristina dyed some linen yarn for me, ages ago, and I knit it up into a raggy little summer scarf. I love it and have worn it to death but truth be told: it could be bluer. Things can always be bluer. Here's the
The simplest shibori we did was to make little bundles with cotton scarves.
So cute I kind of wanted to keep them as-is, as objects. But after 7 or 8 dips, curiosity gets the better of one.
I don't suppose I need to tell you that I kept the sticks. Tongue depressor art.
Things get lurid for a minute when you lift the sticks.
We unfurled our bundles with giddy delight. Unfurling never gets old.
Do it again! Do it again!
The start of a massive pile of used shibori resists.
Amber's magnificent scarf on the right.
Remember my Raspy that had an encounter with the bleach pen back in 2006? Yeah. Bleach pen, say hello to indigo vat. Booya!
What more is there to say? BEST DAY EVER. I urgently recommend an indigo workshop to anyone in need of a blast of textile joy. Thank you, Meng sisters of French General
. Please come back soon.