I have been intrigued with Indigo for almost 5 years. My husband and I moved to China in 2008 where I discovered the beautiful Indigo prints at the Nankeen Exhibition Hall in Shanghai. I fell in love with the beautiful blue prints and purchased many and used them in my quilts. Then I began a journey to learn about indigo dying, the lime paste resist, the stencil carving – the entire process called lanyinhua.
In 2011 I took a trip with Dalton Textile Tours to visit some of the minority villages in Southeast China, and was able to learn and observe more about Indigo dying and the wax resist method used by the Miao. Subsequent visits to other parts of China, Tibet, Thailand, Laos, Korea and Cambodia added more information.
With the help of friends living in Shanghai, I was able to purchase several books in Chinese about indigo textiles and I was fortunate to have a family member, Nicolette Mah, translate text from one of the books “ Blue Color Print Fabric, Chinese Folk and Culture Book Series” on the Chinese soy flour resist, method of Indigo dying and stencil carving.
The summer of 2012 I took a Katazome workshop from textile artist Karen Miller and using patterns she has collected and those that I found, I finally carved several stencils and printed my first indigo fabric, using the Japanese soy flour resist. I loved the results but I still wanted to try out using the lime resist and the technique used by the Chinese.
This summer I took an Indigo Intensive workshop from Kathy Hattori of Botanical Colors. With her encouragement and the encouragement of other class members I felt ready to really begin creating and dying.
This blog is a place for me to share what I have learned about dying with Indigo and other natural dyes, my exploration of Chinese lanyinhua including carving my own stencils using the Chinese method, and my past, current and future textile projects.
I hope you will enjoy learning with me.