The last dyeing class at the workroom in Toronto involved shibori techniques of stitching, wrapping, tying, folding and clamping and then dyeing in the magical indigo vat. It also involved preparing the vat which was quite magical and really intriguing for the chemist in me since it involved reduction and oxygenation. I was a little puzzled about why the silk and wools seemed to not dye as strongly as with the other natural dyes until I did some reading about the actual chemical structure of indigo. It is a glycoside, which really means it is a sugar or carbohydrate based dye, not a nitrogen based one. To me as a former chemist that means it will in its reduced form bind better with other carbohydrate based polymers such as plant based fibers ( cotton, linen, hemp, rayon) and not protein based animal fibers such as silk and wool. Enough of the chemistry and on to the inspiration for my shibori designs.
No big surprise that they were nature inspired. For my stitched pieces I used the sea fan ( although I agree it does look very tree like as some have suggested) and the spiral of the snail. For the tying samples I used mushroom spore prints and sand dollars as inspiration. I used screws, washers, plungers from syringes and what ever else I could find to tie and wrap around. I also used pebbles to tie around for one of the t shirts and a pair of cotton undies. I used pole wrapping with silk but it was very faint even after dyeing a few rounds. I did a little second pole wrapping with cotton flannel at home with a jar of left over indigo , resurrected with a touch of draino ( yep it worked).
I haven't taken detailed pictures of everything yet but I even have some indigo cotton tights, undies, tank top, short and long sleeved t shirts and so much more. Can you tell I am smitten?