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Monday, 9 April 2012

New Indigo Vat Recipes

Last year a group of us went to ISEND, the International Symposium and Exhibition on Natural Dyeing, in La Rochelle, France.  While there we went to a workshop with Michel Garcia who was demonstrating his 1-2-3 vat, an eco vat using indigo, calcium hydroxide and fructose.  Sadly, I couldn't get close enough to take any notes, but once back, my friend and colleague, Jane Deane managed to go to one of his workshops at the NEC.

Jane has been enthusiastically spreading the word about Michel's new eco-vats, with his blessing, as he want's us all to spread the word too!

So here's my first venture in successful eco-vats, a Banana Vat!

Jane had said that Michel thought we would have difficulty getting very ripe banana's in the UK, but I spotted a large bag of ripe banana's in our local Co-op for 20p.  I left them for a couple of weeks so that they were really, really ripe.








Jane said to mash them really well and cover with hot water from a kettle.

I mashed three of my banana's and covered with 4 litres of boiling water and left for 15 minutes.









I added 2 level teaspoons of calcium hydroxide (builders lime, which I purchased from Amazon) and approx. 10g of indigo which I got left from Deb Bamford's Indigo Workshop for the Online Guild last September.

I stirred very fast, in small circles in the centre of the vat (not usually the thing to do, but am assured by Jane that Michel broke lots of rules!) until I got the blue foam, then left for about an hour until the copper film, or flower, had formed on the surface of the water.  It did begin to form after 20 minutes, but resisted the urge to start dipping.


 On the left is a small cotton hank, a bit patchy because I didn't soak sufficiently in my excitement, pale blue after 1 x 2 minute dip.

In the middle is a cotton hank, dipped twice for 2 minutes at a time.

On the right is a cotton hank, dipped 3 times for 2 minutes at a time.

The blue is much brighter in real life!


I then added another mashed banana and 2 level teaspoons of lime, heated gently for about 15 minutes, then removed from the heat and left until the flower formed.

I then added several small hand spun wool hanks, including a wool and cashmere hand and a wool and silk hank.  All were dipped twice for 2 minutes each time.

Again the camera doesn't show the true blue!



FOOTNOTE: Calcium hydroxide doesn't last long, so only buy small amounts.  I got mine from Amazon.
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