Intro to Indigo/ Shibori

Intro to Indigo/ Shibori


Indigo is an ancient dye derived from the leaves of plants and surrounded by magic, mystery, and folklore. Discover how the leaves ‘make blue’ by learning about the character and chemistry of the natural indigo vat. 
The complex chemistry of the indigo vat is fascinating and students will soon appreciate how rituals have grown around the making and using of a successful vat. The unique ‘attaching’ of indigo to fiber means it is particularly suited to resist methods of dying, such as shibori, where portions of cloth are closed off to the dye or where the flow of dye is restricted. Different shades of blue build on the fabric after several dips, exhibiting the beautiful graded hues which are so typical of indigo.


Students will initially learn how an indigo vat is made. A vat will be prepared in the morning and the basic chemistry explained. The natural indigo powder will be used, and the vat will be ‘reduced’ using a commercially available chemical. While the vat develops, students will be shown shibori techniques: a folded and clamped method, and a twisted and tied technique. Students can expect to make several pillow or napkin-sized samples 


Beginner and intermediate 


  • a pair of new rubber gloves (dishwashing-long)

  • a seam-picker or a small pair of sharp scissors

  • an old shirt or apron – and please wear old clothes

  • closed-toe shoes

  • package of rubber bands- assorted sizes

  • sewing needles with a larger sized eye

  • (1) item of clothing you wish to “upcycle” with your new skills not too large as we will be sharing a vat

  • Various fabric samples in different fibers- 24” x 24” or a set of 100% cotton or linen napkins- PRE SCOURED

  • natural fiber scarves are also acceptable and can be ordered from Dharma Trading

  • PRE SCOUR ALL Fabrics before bringing to class (wash in Hot water with mild soap- boil for 20-30 minutes

  • Each person can dye approximately 6 items


  • Coffee/Tea available at 9:30 am- enjoy a cup on the dock, watching the birds and boats

  • Water available in studio ( bring water bottle)

  • Workshop Times: 10:00 am- 4:00 pm with a break for lunch

  • Bring your lunch or we have menus available to order from a selected restaurant each day

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