When Tadhg was six months old I left him (in the capable hands of his dad, not, like, on the street) for an afternoon of alchemy. I joined Kathryn Davey and a group of equally eager women (and one man!) to learn the art of shibori folding and indigo dyeing.
Kathryn lead us through the simple steps of setting up the dye bath as she poured mystical sounding powders into a vat of water. We followed her hands as she folded simple cotton offcuts this way and that – chatty and excited to get down to it.
Dipping the cloth in and out of the indigo vat tested our patience. We each weighed up dipping again for a deeper blue or unfolding the cloth to reveal the pattern. It sounds silly, but it was oddly thrilling. The whole process is a little bit magical, as first your cloth looks greeny-yellow but as it hits the air and oxygen begins to act upon the dye it turns a beautiful shade of indigo blue. The more times you dip the darker the blue becomes.
A warm sense of camaraderie rippled throughout the group as we complimented each others patterns (mostly happy accidents, we unanimously agreed), chatted about what to make next, how to make polka dots and how we’d get the blue off our hands (babywipes, it transpires). A motley mix of ages and stages kept the conversation flowing. Some people came with friends and others, like me, were alone.
At that time it was the perfect escape. A short reprieve from the all consuming task of motherhood. I came home with lots of unique indigo shibori cotton scraps, a beautiful dyed scarf, dirty hands and a freshly buzzing creative spirit. I have some tentative plans for where I’ll take my indigo stained fingers next – keep your peepers peeled.
If you find yourself in need of a creative refresh I could not recommend a workshop with Kathryn Davey more. Check out her upcoming workshops here. She also sell indigo kits so you can easily prepare a vat for yourself at home. I’m waiting for the weather to warm up so I can make a vat outside. If that all sounds a bit too messy Kathryn also sells lots of beautiful handmade goods that she has dyed using indigo and other natural materials. I have my eye on the indigo crown for a certain tiger’s first birthday.