Photo: Sample of shibori patterns. All photos by Nicola Parisi @nicola_parisi
Spring time means shibori time. Last Saturday was a little chilly but that didn’t stop our beautiful day of indigo dyeing and shibori. There were a bunch of us, some hailing from as far as Seattle, others drove 5 hours from the foothills of Tahoe, but most were from the Bay Area. One mother and daughter pair did this experience together for Mother’s day. So sweet! We were fortunate enough to have the photographic talents of Nicola Parisi with us throughout the day. She captured everyone’s excitement in learning this dyeing technique.
Photo: The blue green murky depths of an indigo vat
I’m teaching with Michel Garcia’s 1 - 2 - 3 method with organic indigo, fructose and pickling lime. I love the depth of blue, the fact that there are no toxins and the ease of disposal at the end of the day.
What also excites me is seeing people’s shock and wonder when they see the first dip of fabric going into the vat green and oxidizing to blue. Plus, It feels good to have a creative day knowing that you’re working with quality, natural ingredients.
I believe in upcycling as much as we can. I'm happy that people brought old velvet pillow cases that needed a refresh, t shirts, napkins and table runners.
Photo: Simple tools like chopsticks are reuseable and recycleable.
I also like to use simple tools you can get from the hardware store. I encourage everyone to use wood sticks, rubber bands etc instead of metal clips that can eventually rust and create waste. These tools are so beautiful after they’ve been used over and over again. Everyone worked really hard bundling, folding, tying and pleating their pieces, prepping for the vat.
Photo: Hanging silk scarves out to oxidize.
One person brought some original tools she found around her studio and kitchen (!) to create cool patterns on silk scarves. Another student made a huge wall hanging out of a curtain. Everyone’s work turned out beautifully. Each student received their own indigo kit to take home. I hope they continue with learning more shibori and indigo dyeing.
Photo: Me, Jenny Fong, surrounded by indigo.
And here I am, surrounded by indigo, one of my happy places. Thanks to Nicola for thinking of this shot.
Do you have an old garment you're hanging on to but would like to give it new life? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always curious to know what people want to upcycle. I’m sure there’s a dress in the depths of my closet somewhere that I haven’t dyed yet. Maybe I’ll look this weekend.