When I started my weaving business it was a secondary goal to incorporate shibori into my work. In fact, some of the pieces I produced and sold to raise money for a production loom were handwoven hemp and linen dyed with loom-controlled shibori. Back then I was in a city and didn't think much about using chemical dyes. Out here, though, I want my actions to enhance the natural world, not harm it.
Well, in the way that I "just knew" that weaving was the right choice for a career, I "just know" that incorporating indigo and shibori are good ideas.
A flat of Japanese Indigo seedlings.
Half of them are transplanted. I need more pots.
I'm reading a stunning book with an unexciting title, "Natural Dyes" by Dominique Cardon. It is a mind-blowing tome. I'm learning about the history of indigo in various parts of the world and the historic classification of the shades of blue that can be dyed from it. Every shade is beautiful, in my opinion.
And simultaneously with the passion for indigo catching fire in my brain, I'm winding the new blue beam in shades from almost black to almost white. It will be exciting when I'm able to do this with yarn that I've dyed myself from plants that I grew myself.
I am not sure that Japanese Indigo is the right indigo plant for this climate, but that's what I'll learn with the experimental crop this year.
I just learned that Woad is an invasive non-native species in parts of California. This means two things: it would probably grow very well here and I can't bring it here with a clear conscience. I really don't want my legacy to be that I introduced a destructive weed to our bio region. I can, however, make contact with people who are beset upon by it and go down during the "green growth but no seeds" season, help them to remove it, and bring home the "waste" to compost and dye with.
Aaaand, these are all dreams for the future. For today I'm moving soil and carrying water to tend my little agricultural experiment.