This year, there are few industries have been unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic, one of the lesser know ones is the indigo industry.
Indigo is a brilliant blue colour, which is used in many textiles, decorative projects and artistic applications across the world – but its origins and production are somewhat more mysterious and this year. Indigo production, which usually takes place three times a year, has been delayed by the pandemic but in October this year, the first indigo production of the year was put into motion, bringing to life towns and communities that have built up around the indigo industry in India.
The process of getting dye from Indigofera happens in stages. First, the leaves are harvested and immersed in a huge tank filled with water, where they are weighed down and allowed to ferment. After the fermentation, the leaves are removed, and the water is drained into another massive tank where the solution oxidises, and sediment settles at the bottom of the tank.
Finally, the sediment powder is dried and packed into cakes. The leaves must reach the first water tank within three hours to yield the best quality indigo. At Reason Season Time London, we are proud to be using indigo dye in some of our block printed kantha quilts, partly because of its natural source, but also it is produced using a zero-waste system, in which all leftover plant material is used to fertilise the fields of the next Indigofera crop. Indigo is a low-cost crop
7 Facts about Indigo Dyes
1. Indigo is derived from plants.
2. The most popular plant used in production comes from the leaves of Indigofera tinctoria, which thrives in hot humid places and is commercially grown in India and El Salvador.
3. The blue dye is unique to the region it has come from and the temperature and soil it is grown in,
4. It’s sustainable and production generates no toxic waste.
5. Natural indigo is mostly cultivated in rural communities and it provides employment to farmers and communities in need of an economic boost.
6. It has a high level of impurities, which provide a wide range of colour variations for the artist to play with.
7. Indigo can dye lots of materials and is especially good for cotton (indigo was the first dye used to colour the original blue jeans) but also perfect for linens, silk, wool, leather, and feathers and even materials like cane, wicker, shells and buttons.
To browse our kantha quilt selection, click here - https://www.reasonseasontime.co.uk/collections/soft-furnishings