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Natural indigo vat production

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@Xiaolan Lin, 2021

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At home The Hague


Natural Color Workshop, 2021


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With excitement I have received a Indigo material package, shipped from Taiwan. The package is prepared by one of the HAB Principal Investigators, Prof. Min-Chin Chiang, whose project is focus on the revitalization of indigo dyeing, especially the production process of/with natural dye. 

With this packet, all the indigo rookies can have the opportunities to get the hands dirty on the natural dye, which is consisted of two parts, the dye production, and the follow-up action of dyeing textiles.  Also for ease, convenience, there is a well prepared explicit instruction video available, so that I can follow the steps to produce my first ever natural dye vat. (dye vat: the natural dye material to dye the textiles).

Besides my personal interest, coincidentally dyeing also happens to be one of the summer activities on my kids’ list. So we decided to work on the production together, as you see in the first image. Because all the ingredients are extracted from the natural resources, the smell of the indigo powder is very pleasing.

Very unfortunately, we haven’t managed to produce a successful pot of indigo vat, it remains watery light blue after 5-day fermentation (as the second image shows) although all the necessary indigents have been added in the appropriate order following the instruction.

Despite of the fact that we might have failed the task, my kids and myself realized the technical precision and craft complexity involved in the course of indigo production.

If I had a second chance to produce an indigo vat, I would pay extra attention on the following technical points: 

- Base of the indigo vat, I will try to make the alkaline water at PH 11-12 with measurement;

- Temperate, because of the biological nature of ingredients, the moderate triggering temperature is critical.  

In the end, I would like to thank the team of indigo for preparing the kit for the network memebers, very fun to do it! Also I am deepful grateful for what nature has offered to us!  

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