A Bastard Indigo Vat

I am going to paraphrase what a bastard is so you can get the idea. It means born of a non-traditional marriage or no marriage or who the heck knows the parentage. So if you know anything about indigo vats you should have the idea that my vat is not the run of the mill, perfect proportions, perfect anything. It is a result of non-traditional methods.

It started as what is commonly called a chemical vat. But it got cold and went fallow. I didn’t have a supply of chemicals so I just started adding stuff to it. A goal was to get it up to the correct pH of 10+. When that was accomplished by the addition of one or more, or a combination of, fructose, washing soda, lime, maybe a banana, maybe some fruit pectin, etc. it was ready to dye fabric. I did not add ferrous because that’s another indigo story.

I was dying a wonderful deep blue on a single dip. Washfast indigo. Lovely indigo. Then the unthinkable happened. I got the flu. The studio went unused, and mostly unheated. And my vat died.  I cried. It was completely blue and not a copper flower anywhere near. And it was not dyeing anything.

So I drained the swamp. I skimmed off the liquid, leaving my sludge in the bottom of the vat. Oops….too much indigo left at the bottom of the swamp. No what was I going to do?  My Indian hair dye indigo powder to the rescue.  There are all kinds of reasons this should not work. The biggest reason is that it is fresh indigo that is dried and ground to a powder. It is green and not like the pre-reduced indigo most people use for an indigo vat.  But boy or boy it is working!

Here is my vat as I was draining the swamp and before I added the indigo powder.. I will show you the result of this poor Frankenstein in a few days. vatIt



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