Monday, January 3, 2011

Colours from Nature - natural dyeing, part III

A Day with Jjok ~ a.k.a Indigo

on the 31st of august 2003, my teacher took a couple of us to learn a korean technique for dyeing with indigo. at the time, i had no idea that it was indigo, i knew it as jjok. you may wonder why the colour seems to be green rather than the expected blue. green in the easiest colour to extract. the blue requires rigorous processing.

[while on a trip to Kyoto, Japan in february 2004, i learned of the Aizenkobo workshop, so i had to seek out their traditional method, & try my hand at indigo dyeing. i dyed a beautifully patterned scarf. it took about 3 hours to complete. the session included an introduction to the skill, packed with information on the craft, & was followed by a cup of tea with the family. The Utsuki family were really nice & answered our copious questions without hesitation. Their family have been dyeing with naturally fermented indigo for 3 generations, & are among only a few in the country who still dye this way. a few families produce the cloth patterns, one pattern to a family, so their sole work is to prepare cloth, basting a specific design for dyeing. alas, the scarf i produced is in Canada, no photos at this time. i did learn the process, though not having studied chemistry extensively, or the years working as an apprentice, i could not reproduce the colour on my own. perhaps in a future post, i could explain the day's events. for now, i've found another who's written about her experience with the workshop, Indigo Dyeing in Kyoto, & an article about the workshop, Beloved Blue.]

i apologize for the crappy images, they were taken with a cheap 35mm & scanned, & have been now copied from my old site, though i`ve tried to doctor them thru picasa.

Pickin' bagfuls

Snipped to bite-sized pieces

Soaking the jjok, reminiscent of a tisane

Filling muslin bag with the plant material

Extracting the juice

Squeezing workout

Empty the bag, begin again

Green colour, the first soak cycle

all of my notes are not in Dubai, & my memory is foggy, so i`ve left out the details. i think the pics tell the story fairly well. i have much more study on the subject (hopefully producing a decent essay) ahead of me as well as much experimentation with plants found & grown in NS. i`d love to return to Korea at some point to fill in the blanks & acquire more information. *fingers crossed*

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