Friday, August 31, 2007

Indigo Dye Weekend at Folk School

I was lucky enough to get to spend another weekend at John C Campbell Folk School at the end of August. That is such a lovely spot ... still rural and peaceful, though I heard several locals complain that too many people had discovered it. I am guessing that retirees who went to Folk School just fell in love with the area and decided to move there to share the peace and quiet, but the locals don't like the rising tax rates. Evidently the newcomers are building nice fancy houses in the area and tax rates are being affected.

One of the people in the class was from Asheville, and expressed the same sort of feeling about recent growth in that North Carolina city. She said so many folks have moved into the area that now the original locals can't afford the prices in their hometown. There is a terrible mixture of expanding one's experiences, discovery of very special places, being welcomed and rejected at the same time -- all mixed up with some of our desire to reclaim the simple days of the past yet enjoy the comforts of today.

This is not what I began to write about though. Putting aside the inclination to pontificate, it's back to indigo. The class was thorough, though if we had had two pots of indigo it would have been more productive. We dyed silk and wool fabrics in indigo baths, then walnut, marigold, and made up sample sheets to take home. Basic colors created ran from blue to brown with some muddy yellow in there. I always like to see yarn dyed and have moved away from fabric in recent years. After all, there is only so much time in life, and my time seems to be taken up with wool.

In a former post, I wrote about instant indigo. After the Folk School weekend, I will definitely give that a new try because I realized that I probably was not looking for the right color of green/yellow just under the surface of the pot, and didn't know when to adjust the pot or even that the temperature had to be fairly constant. The word 'instant' may have given me a little too much confdence. Now, I wonder if the results I got in my first experiment will be bonded to the fiber or if they will 'crock,' as the flaking of indigo is called. Pretty cool to use that term in a sentence! I admit to not having much of a control over that first experiment, so do plan to try it again and be ready to alter and watch that pot with a more practiced eye.

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