Indigo Dye Challenge Vol.4

October 13, 2017

Indigo Dye Challenge Vol.4

(Original blog posted on 14 April 2017

Hi,Mushi-chan here.

My indigo's true leaf came out and it's root started to grow.


It seems a bit cramped, so I move it to a bigger planter to spread the leaves.

It is such a wonder that this small bud will bring out that beautiful blue color.  

Plants' vitality is amazing. 

Well, I decided to grow myself up during the period of waiting for the growth of indigo leaves.

Meaning, I decided to learn about botanical dyeing again. 

Seeing is believing. I will be able to see it at a different angle than I have ever experienced anything.

 I would like to explain not only knowledge but also experience.


History of dyeing

Dyeing was done with natural dyes using plants and minerals until chemical dyes were invented in the UK in the mid-nineteenth century.

Under the Nihonshoki, the oldest Japanese history book, 12 of governers posts are revealed by the color of the clothes in A.C 604.

So it is a wonderful history as the development of the culture of dyeing.

In the Heian period (A.C 794 - A.C 1185), women of royal society wore Jyunihitoe which is colorful Kimono. Traditional colors has already developed at that time.

As a result of trial and error with the various plants and minerals, the ancient people would have identified what is easy to dye.

By the way, first color developed as the chemical dye was Mauve (Light purple) and indigo color has developed from coal in the end of 19th century.  

Chemical dye's strong points are repeatability of color, easy to get ideal color and retain color for a long time.

 Strong points of botanical dyeing

Then what is the strong point of botanical dyeing?

There are several leaves that became raw material of indigo dye and most plants have some color matter.

Even if it is the same plant, the color will be different depending on the season and environment. So all botanical dye products are only one.

Craftsman create ideal color and design to mix blue, red and yellow colors.

Share my experience   

This time I tried dyeing with onion peel and laurel leaves.

 Above's photo is a fresh laurel brunch.

Fresh brunch extracts nicer color, so we put them in a pot.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of onion peel.

Currently, fresh onion is a delicious season but old onion with brown peel is better for dying.

To dye a handkerchief, it needs to get many onion peels. I wonder how much of it I have to eat...


By the way, our dying factory in Bali cultivates trees for dyeing material in its own firm.

It is very appreciated that we can work together with the wonderful people who have a belief in following natural cycle and trying not to hurt the environment.