Playing with turmeric and indigo
So straight on with another post while I have wifi and half an hour to write. I think I’m going to be a bit off grid for a couple of days so I’ll strike while the irons hot as it were.
I was so impressed with Ock Pop Tok, their ethos, surroundings and products that I decided to go back the following day and join two workshops. A morning dying using the plants from the garden and an afternoon weaving. The first started at 9am and I was collected from where I was staying by their own personal tuktuk. Once there I was given a fresh cup of bael fruit tea. I hadn’t tasted bael before and very much enjoyed it.
We were then given a detailed description of the process from the silk worm through to the weaving. I had heard this the day before but it doesn’t hurt to learn something twice! Then we were asked to choose what we would like to dye either silk skeins or napkins and to choose the three colours we would like to try. I chose two silk skeins and a napkin. For the colours I knew before I went that I wanted to try playing with indigo so I opted for dark and light indigo and a deep orange made from turmeric and limestone to remind me of all the monks dressed in orange that I have seen here. First of all I had to dig up some turmeric root from the garden wash it, chop it and pound it in a pestle and mortar.
It then goes into boiling water with tamarind leaves its mordent (to set the colour in the fabric) and is left to simmer for a while to let the colour leach out. The aroma is fantastically earthy. When the water has turned a gorgeous tone of deep yellow it is ready to use. I dyed one of my silk skeins in here which meant it had to sit in the mixture for a good ten to fifteen minutes at a guess. Then it was washed and finally dipped into a solution of water and lime stone powder which immediately turns the silk a deep orange.
The other silk skein was headed for the indigo vats. The indigo was already prepared as it is a longer process involving a fermenting of the indigo leaves and rice whisky in some way! The indigo dye is a dark green mixture that turns to blue when it oxidises in the air. I also decided to tie dye my napkin in the indigo but leave it in for less time so as to keep the indigo a lighter shade.
My plan is to use the threads to embroider onto the napkin… we’ll see what happens!