These organic vats were originally developed by Michel Garcia, a botanist and dye chemist with a deep knowledge of how colour behaves on the molecular level. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. There is simply something magical and fulfilling  in this slow process of fabric design making. Maintained by Maiwa Handprints Ltd. Change ). NATURALDYES.CA — A site dedicated to the use of natural dyes. Thanks, Peggy Cox. Winter temperatures in the building can get into the low 40°s F. During the cold months I keep an aquarium heater in the vat. Please be aware that an indigo vat is ready to use when there has been a good reduction in the vat and this can take some time in an organic natural vat. But it did not work. We used Michel Garcia's 1-2-3 proportions to make two organic vats - one with fructose and one with henna! ( Log Out /  It makes a big difference in the lightfastness of the dye. Since 2011 I have been making and using organic indigo vats, an art and skill that I learned from Michel Garcia. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. I wish I had an answer to this, Julie, but it’s something else to observe and learn from. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. It was probably on a trip to West Africa when I first became really enchanted by the blue colour of indigo. For me, however, it was an eye opening experience that made me instantly curious about natural dyes and their role in today’s world. For the organic vat we recommend using the most benign base possible. Any tips on keeping fructose lose? It’s as easy as 1,2,3. I have been making and using organic indigo vats since 2011, when I first learned about them from Michel Garcia. The Magic of Indigo: I have always considered Indigo to be the Mt. ( Log Out /  It was a sort of a crash course and further experimenting by myself is still needed. The indigo is not in reduction in that sediment. Interesting! Clear glass pots of about one litre make excellent test vats. I know that this post refers to the amount of indigo dye – but could you address the temperature needed to keep the vat active? THE ORGANIC VAT To make an organic indigo vat we need the same three things we need for any indigo vat :1) indigo, 2) a reducing agent and, 3) a base. And also to try indigo process that uses yeast instead of fructose. The weakest vat has very little and it gets progressively deeper with the stronger vats. Thanks to you now I will try them again! You get spots? Thanks! I have an 8 gallon fructose vat going at home that I’ve had to revive from time to time. More fructose. One must be patient with the indigo vat. I’ve since done some experiments with sodium hydroxide and that worked, though the vat does look very different. Everest of plant dye, a timely and fragile pursuit reserved for experts, indian dye masters, and retired grandmothers. I will also check with Joy. Try different combinations or experiment with local plants and fruits. Catharine, thank you! Hence the exhausted vat contains only plant matter, indigo, and chalk. We recommend natural indigo, an organic reducing agent, and a benign base. It could be mixed with a lower concentrations of indigo - but I have to say, this … Michel talks about the vats in simple terms. I start my vat with hot water, close to 140-180°F. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Hello! And one last question: I’ve got my 25b bag of fructose in a plastic bin. The lime for indigo vats is calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2. But who really knows…?It is one of the beauties of natural dyeing-results might vary and there is not much one can do about it! The first one was the best (great sheen on a top). Usual companions of indigo dyeing are soda ash (reduces ph of a vat) and spectrilite/ hydros (reduces oxygen in a vat) and whilst the color achieved by the reaction of these components can be quite effective I just didn’t want to use them. We love the banana or mango vat best (and peaches in the summer). I made 3 small fructose vats with varying amounts of indigo. Many natural substances will behave as reducing agents. I will try and keep those small vats around for a time, dye with them, and see what happens. It was also then I learnt that old practices of dyeing with natural dyes (and natural indigo) are mostly diminished in this part of the world and elsewhere. You must be right in that only a certain amount/proportion of the indigo goes to reduction, and longer time helps. Sometimes I suspend the textiles from the top so that they do not touch the bottom of the vat. I re-read your earlier posts on reviving. I keep my vat in an unheated, concrete floor studio. Michel and Maiwa founder Charllotte Kwon meet on a regular basis to conduct natural dye research, explore recipes and test procedures.