Blue, Blue, My World is Blue

This page provides: An indigo recipe, links to pictures and growing instructions.

     As the daughter of a hand dyer/weaver, I came by love of fabric, color and surface design honestly. While I’ve resisted learning to weave, the chemistry  geek (did I really say that?) in me is really intrigued by color. So, I plotted to learn...

     In 2005, I taught an Ethnobotany of SC course for teachers. Since I had reserved a laboratory for the course, I thought it would be a great opportunity to include lessons about indigo. The dyestuff transformed the economics of the state in the 18th century and so stands as a pretty important piece of ethnobotanical history. Since I believe that teaching ethnobotany should involve teaching processes, too-I thought it would be great to dye. Since Mom knew indigo, I invited her to teach to my class and in the process, I learned and have been hooked ever since.

     I continued giving indigo dye workshops and in 2007 had the good fortune to work with some amazing colleagues (Andrea Feeser, Kendra Johnson) in an interpretive project (thank you SC Humanities Council) about indigo at Woodburn Plantation in the Upstate of South Carolina. This gave me a chance to dig a little deeper into indigo, with the goal of understanding the 18th century process through 21st century knowledge of chemistry.

     I’ve continued to dye with indigo since then, using it as yet another plant-based substrate from which to teach plant anatomy, chemistry and physiology, though I dye for enjoyment, too (see my pics on the link to the left). See my indigo recipe (to the left), modified from my Mom’s recipe who also used Maiwa Handwovens recipe initially. I've added South Carolina specific info that I hope will be useful.

© Karen C. Hall, 2010