Indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) Indigo(NL)
Paints: Blue shades
For thousands of years indigo has been used to dye various fibres in the most beautiful shades of blue. In the Netherlands, woad (Isatis tinctoria) used to be cultivated for making blue dye, but in the 16th century woad was superseded by indigo from the Dutch East Indies and other Asian countries.
The indigo dye is extracted from the fresh indigo leaves and the resulting indigo cake is processed into powder and used to make the dye tubs.
Indigo is a substantive dye, which means that you do not need to pre-dye.
Indigo does not dissolve in water. To be able to dye with it, the oxygen has to be removed, also called ‘reducing’.
This is done by first making the dye bath alkaline with calcium hydroxide and then reducing it with fructose. The indigo then dissolves and can bond to the fibres.
Dyeing with Indigo is magical. Due to the reduction, the blue colour disappears as soon as the fibres are in the dye bath. When you take them out and oxygen gets to them, the oxidation process starts. Before your eyes, the colour slowly changes from green to a beautiful shade of blue.
…is seen as the ‘King’ of dyes.
This is one of the natural dye products described in the book Eco-verf by Anja Schrik.
Basic recipe for 100 grams of wool, silk or cotton to dye blue
What you need:
– 25 grams of indigo
– 50 grams of calcium hydroxide
– 75 grams of fructose
– 5 marbles
– electric cooker or cooker
– an old (cast iron) pan and sieve
– apron, gloves
– (glass) jars, buckets or containers
– 1 cup of vinegar
– 2 cups household soda (if you are going to dye cotton)
Note: Indigo is a substantive dye, which means you don’t need to mordant.
Step 1: Wash (only if you are going to dye cotton, skip step 1 if you are going to dye wool or silk)
Fill a bucket with plenty of water and 2 cups of baking soda and leave your cotton there for 24 hours. Rinse well the next day.
Dissolve the fructose in a bowl with 200 ml of warm water (+/- 90°).
Fill a tightly-sealed bucket or jar with 200 ml of warm water (+/- 90°). Put the indigo and marbles in and make sure the lid is tightly closed. Now you start shaking until all the indigo is well dissolved.
Dissolve the calcium hydroxide in a bowl with 200 ml of warm water and stir well.
Heat a pan with +/- 3 litres of water and bring to a temperature of about 50°.
First add the indigo solution and stir well. Then add the fructose solution and finally the calcium hydroxide solution. Stir it in very carefully to avoid oxygen getting into the vat.
Step 7: Dyeing
Make sure the fibres you are going to dye are wet (squeeze out the excess water). Carefully lower your material into the pan and make sure it has plenty of space and is submerged. (Again: make sure that as little oxygen as possible gets into the vessel by stirring very carefully).
After about 5 minutes, take your material out (squeeze out the excess) and let it oxidise in the air.
You can repeat steps 7-8 several times to achieve the colour that is right for you. Then rinse and fix in a bucket of water with a cup of vinegar.
Step 10: Fixing
Rinse the fibres and leave them for an hour in a bucket of water with 1 cup of vinegar. Rinse well again and hang to dry.
Oogst Natural Dye product philosophy
Tiring of quick-fix culture and instant gratification? Frustrated with the monotony of modern life? Are you yearning to make elegant and stylish products yourself?
Instead of falling victim to the ‘quick-fix’ mentality, take your time and create something relatively insignificant by today’s standards. Get back to nature with natural dyes.
The earth is our most precious resource. It provides everything we need, including the landscape in which we live, the food we eat, the air we breathe. It’s our foundation, grounding us in a steady rhythm of seasons. The fast pace of modern life has shifted what is considered valuable. What we need and even who we are has been redefined by a consumeristic society.
Let go of the impulsive convenience mindset. Break free from the urge to just consume. Create something new, make something on your own – using natural dyes – and reconnect yourself with nature. Discover the pleasure of Oogst natural dyes for yourself, getting back to basics with colours directly from nature.
There is something to be said about the process of creation. It is not only the final product that is important, but what led to its creation. We want you to experience how it feels to make something with your own two hands.
And why should that be complicated? The truth is that for hundreds of years before synthetic dyes came along, common folk were creating their own dyes.
We’re bringing back the lost art of natural dyeing. It’s easy to buy what you need at the stores just like everybody else, but when you dye your own projects you come away with something truly unique.
Explore the possibilities at Oogst.
The packaging material we have selected for Oogst natural dyes is made out of agricultural wase.
It is compostable and complies to the EN13432 directives for compostability and is also DIN CERTCO certified.
The package material is suitable for the food industry and helps perserving the materials.