Small-Batch Indigo Processing: Two Methods

Wednesdays, 6pm to 9pm | August 21 or September 25

Vermonters, rejoice! We can grow and extract indigo blue from several indigo-bearing plants, including Persicaria tinctoria, or Japanese indigo, and Isatis tinctoria, or Dyer's Woad. Both are easily grown in our northern climate, and coaxing the blue out of them is a fascinating lesson in chemistry. Using freshly-harvested plants from our farm, students in this 3-hour workshop will:

  • Learn two extraction methods; one uses fermentation to produce pigment that may be dried and stored for later use; the other uses fresh leaves and ice for immediate use in a dye bath. Each yields a different, gorgeous shade of blue. We'll cover the science behind this plant-to-palette transformation, along with the ingredients and tools needed for small-batch processing.

  • Experiment with tie-dye and dye dipping, using our freshly-made ice vat. Paper and fiber samples, along with one silk scarf per student, will be provided.

  • Share your gardening, artistic and other creative pursuits with fellow DIY'ers in a low-key, convivial environment.

Students will leave with a book of recipes and resources, dyed fiber samples, and one finished silk scarf.

Class Fee: $60; $20 Kids (12 and under). Gardeners, check out our Learn As You Grow discount below.

Materials: Included. Students are welcome to bring their own pre-washed, natural fiber samples for dyeing; we suggest small lengths of yarn, fabric, or small clothing item - a pair of cotton socks is a fun choice!

Ages: All-ages; 12 and under must attent with parent or guardian.
Experience Level: Beginners to Intermediate. For gardeners, artists and citizen scientists!

Instructor: Karen Cornish

NOTE for wheelchair users: We are located in a 19th-century building with only stairs, and no elevator. We regret that our space is not accessible by wheelchair.

Learn-As-You-Grow Gardener’s Discount

We raise and sell traditional dye plants hardy to Zone 5 on our farm in Hinesburg, including Japanese Indigo (blue), Madder (red), Weld (yellow), and other varieties not typically found in local nurseries. We love growing and using our own colors and want to teach you to do the same, to Learn As You Grow!

Our plant seedlings will be available for sale in April on our website, for pick up mid-May in Hinesburg and other locations TBA. For every dollar spent on our seedlings (or other dyestuffs later in the summer), we’ll give you the same amount off a workshop held at our Montpelier studio. How it works:

- Sign up for any workshop and we’ll email a discount code that may be used online or in person (at our Hinesburg farm or the Capitol City Farmer's Market in Montpelier)
- Purchase plants (online or in person) and we’ll email a discount code that may be used towards any workshop.
- Plant quantities are limited. Discount based on pre-tax amount (“subtotal”)
- Offer good for workshops occurring through September 2019 at our Montpelier studio
- Workshop spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis

Here’s a list of our 2019 traditional plant varieties. “Traditional” means that their light- and wash-fast properties are well-known and tested over time; there are many other botanical sources of color that we’ll cover in other workshops such as Making Botanical Inks and Food Dyes from Nature.