A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, September 12, 2016

indigo and weaving workshop

Last October I went to Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for The Surface Design conference:  Made Aware.

Beautiful country, best time of the year to see the Great Smoky mountains.

The craft school is a big rambling campus on the side of the hill ... but just around the corner is a

bustling tourist town with lots of shopping and restaurants.  But there was no need to eat out, the dining hall at Arrowmont was great.  Housing was like college dorm life only quieter.  In fact, the a/c in my room was not working so they found me a new one right away.

There was a juried fiber art exhibition at the same time and I really enjoyed the time to carefully study each one. 

The facilities were fabulous work spaces and the workshops offered were taught by talented experts in their fields. 

I had such a wonderful time and learned so much about indigo and ikat weaving.  The workshop was team taught by Sara Goodman and Mary Zigafoose, tapestry weaver. Sara taught us how to develop two indigo vats - one with henna and one with fructose.  I tried a small vat when I was back at home and I proved the rule - you really have to deal with the pot every day.  Mine died a sad death when I went out of town for two weeks.  I poured off the water and kept the blue dregs and my plan to see if I can revive it during this indigo month.  I'll keep you up to date on that.  The photo below is not my vat, this is Sara stirring the indigo/henna vat at Arrowmont. 

I brought home an ikat dyed cotton warp and weft and I'll be putting that on one of my looms and finally seeing how well that worked out.  First ikat project we did in class was tapestry design using wool as the weft - the looms were mostly warped for us when we arrived.

My wool ikat was mediocre - more on that in another post. The dye seeped under the green ikat tape so my edges were not super crisp - lesson learned.  When I began the second project in cotton, I wrapped that tape reeaallly tight. I can't wait to weave up this narrow cotton band.


  1. Pouvez vous me dire comment vous fixer la couleur,car après avoir expérimenté j'ai stocké mes tissus et malheureusement ils se sont déteints avec le temps soit 6 mois.
    Can you tell me how you fix the color again after I experienced my stored tissues and unfortunatel they have faded with time or 6 months.
    Thank you

  2. Marianne,
    With indigo, there is no fixing method. It is a vat dye and there can be many reasons why color fades. The best blue indigo is achieved with a vat with the correct pH, sufficiently reduced so that the liquid is greenish, several short dips of the fabric with complete oxidizing in between. Hope that translates well for you.

    There are many helpful resources on line. I suggest you google for "Michel Garcia indigo dyeing." Good luck with your dyeing.



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