#TheIndigoPlot at the Botanics

TO JOIN THE INDIGO DYE WORKSHOPS AND DEMONSTRATION SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST.

The Indigo Plot at the Botanics is a small dye plants garden in the grounds of the Glasgow Botanical Garden in Scotland (UK). Curated by Textile artist Elisabeth Viguie Culshaw in the spring of 2022, Japanese Indigo (4 varieties), Woad, Weld, Genista, Madder, and Flax are planted, I want to educate and share with the public. Information about planting, growing and using dye plants to created sustainable colour for textile fibre will be shared during the following 24 months.

Below are images about my own dye garden in 2021

My inspiration for dye gardens comes from my Asian travels over the past 15 years.

Out of the visit in 2019 to my Thai friend Mann’s craft dye garden in Sakhon Nakhon (Northern Thailand) I retain a strong sense of belonging. Grand daughter of a French farmer I have always had this attraction for planting but living in Urban Glasgow for the last 30 years have not given me a chance to put this to practise . In his garden, Mann grows rice and other vegetables but also, Indigofera Tinctoria, and many other dye plants. He harvest them and and uses them sustainably in his process with textile.

Below images about Mann’s Indigo dye garden in Northern Thailand

In may 2022 I met Lottie Delamain the garden designer for the fashion revolution “Textile Garden” at the 2022 Chelsea flower show and she shared with me her intense liking for a similar garden in North Vietnam years ago. There is a sense of peace and belonging coming from them. My chosen location for my own dye garden is in the Glasgow Botanical garden, a garden set up by Victorian fathers of the City in the 1870’s to enlighten and educate about plants. My plot is at the top of the garden by the medicinal, dye and herb gardens. It used to be the physical garden, a space where plants were referenced and grown for educative purpose. Such a suitable space.

“From seeds to colour” is a concept that sustainable natural dyers are embracing by growing and foraging for locally grown plants to create a colour pallet in the shades of the rainbow. When talking about dyes, I wanted to pay respect to a 17th century French reformer of the use of Natural dyes. Colbert minister to Louis XIV in his reforms aimed to separate the “Grand Teint dyes” (colourfast dyes) and the “Petit Teint dyes” (more ordinary dyes which sometimes are not as colourfast and need over-dying), today many are confused about the difference between dyes and colours and many novice dyers are using food items such as “Red Cabbage” as a source of dye… those are not dyes but merely fugitive food colour which should be kept to the kitchen. In my garden most plants are “Grand Teint” and I will aim to educate the visitor to that effect. In dye workshops I will use a variety of Natural dyes to create rainbow colours. (See below photos of some of the colours achieved).

I want to produce the colours blue with visitors, participants and volunteers, through growing and processing Japanese Indigo and Woad. But some other traditional dye plants such as Madder, Weld, which are “Grand Teint” and will add other plants such as dye flowers which produce “Petit Teint” dyes. No space will be given in this garden to fugitive dye plants.

The idea of sharing the experience with a group of people made me recruit some volunteers to prepare the grounds, help with the planting and the maintenance of the garden. Some events are due to take place during the summer. Natural dye workshops and demonstrations are planned for early summer, other events are planned too. I will be able to share with your group if you have a desire to discover about Natural dyes. Be in touch. If you click the links below you will read about the experience of some of those growing with me:

Meet Deborah from Oban

Meet Nicky from Stirlinshire

My first choice of plant is Persicaria Tinctoria (Japanese Indigo), it is a well suited Indigo plant that will stand Scottish weather. I have grown it in 2021 in Urban Glasgow with a lot of success, in this blog post you can read the story https://thelansdownehouseofstencils.com/2022/02/11/from-seeds-to-blue-in-the-covid-year-of-2021-i-grew-japanese-indigo-in-scotland/. For 2022 I have recruited a number of home growers to share the experience. In the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/The-Indigo-Plot-at-the-Botanics-100479995960184 you will be able to see their regular update. 25 at home growers with very different background… gardeners, natural dyers, textile artists, Artist… each of them growing 25 plants.

Out of Persicaria you can get a beautiful blue… FRESH LEAVES DYEING AND METHODS WILL BE SHARED WITH PARTICIPANTS . Woad will be a great contrast with a softer blue. Below are images of some pieces dyed with Indigo pigment.

I will be running two workshops about Indigo vat building and dyeing as well as using Fresh leaves Indigo in order to create blue on silk. You can book a space below. The sessions will be ran in the Glasgow Botanical Garden – Kibble Palace both time and are suitable for beginners… I will be offering a visit to The Indigo Plot on the same day.

Indigo Dyeing workshop at The Glasgow Botanics – 9th July 2022 from 12:30 to 4:30

Elisabeth started growing Japanese Indigo in Glasgow in 2021 during the pandemic and in 2022 she started The Indigo Plot project which involves growing Japanese Indigo in the grounds of The Glasgow Botanical garden as well as joining forces with 20 “at Home growers in Scotland” . The aim is to share experiences and growing/dyeing tips. During the workshop she will share with you how to set up an Indigo vat from Natural Indigo Pigments from Indian origins. She will share tips on how to maintain it and revive it. You will dye samples of recycled cotton/linen using Shibori folds and recycled household items to create beautiful patterns. You will get the opportunity to create a “cushion size” piece to take home. Finishing techniques will be demonstrated to make sure your own dyed pieces do not crock and vat management will be discussed.

£60.00

Indigo Dyeing workshop at The Glasgow Botanics – 13th August 12.30pm to 4.30pm

Elisabeth started growing Japanese Indigo in Glasgow in 2021 during the pandemic and in 2022 she started The Indigo Plot project which involves growing Japanese Indigo in the grounds of The Glasgow Botanical garden as well as joining forces with 20 “at Home growers in Scotland” . The aim is to share experiences and growing/dyeing tips. During the workshop she will share with you how to set up an Indigo vat from Natural Indigo Pigments from Indian origins. She will share tips on how to maintain it and revive it. You will dye samples of recycled cotton/linen using Shibori folds and recycled household items to create beautiful patterns. You will get the opportunity to create a “cushion size” piece to take home. Finishing techniques will be demonstrated to make sure your own dyed pieces do not crock and vat management will be discussed.

£60.00

bean-paste-1

BLUE AND WHITE PRINTS – ONLINE PRINT RESIST TECHNIQUE AND INDIGO DYE

From 17th September at 2pm for 3 hours and thereafter weekly online on zoom. Spend 3 weeks learning to create beautiful printed fabric using a resist paste technique, stencils and a Natural Pigment Indigo vat. We will learn how to set up a Ferrous vat, maintain it and use it to create multicolour printed fabric. This can be a beginners workshop or a more advance participant. For more information email me on bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com

£162.00

The plants we are growing at the Plot:

  • Persecaria Tinctoria (japanese Indigo), a South East Asian plant with large leaves, the pigment can be found in the leaves and it grows well in climate country like Scotland. We grow 4 varieties (Long leaves, Senbon, Maruba or broad leaves, Kojkoko) about 500 plants, we will harvest during the summer 2022 to extract pigment, dye with the fresh leaves techniques.
  • Isatis Tinctoria (Woad) an ancient plant used in the West to also produce blue pigment. It is a bi-anual but only produces pigment the first year. We will dye wool from fresh leaves vat.
  • Flax, Linum, a grass that produces linen. We will be growing a good few plants to extract the fiber. I hope we will be able to spin it and weave.
  • Weld, a traditional yellow dye plant also a Grand teint.
  • Genista (reseda) for Yellows
  • Madder or Rubbia Tinctorium or a traditional root plant (Grand teint) used to create a huge range of red shades
  • Dye Flowers (coreopsis, dyers camomile…)

And below the colours we will be dyeing with them:

On the 18th of September we will run a garden visit and a demonstration of using the fresh leaves Indigo. This will be an afternoon for the Glasgow Doors Open days. You wont be able to book a ticket before August but you can register to get news from my Eventbrite platform and you will get an alert…

For booking a free space please just look HERE

I hope that you will be taking part in the activities of the dye garden…

If you would like to register as a volunteer to water or tend the garden please be in touch bettysbeautifullife@gmail.com

Please be in touch or post in our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/The-Indigo-Plot-at-the-Botanics-100479995960184

Happy blue dyeing..

Betty x

Published by bettysbeautifullife

I am a Christie's trained artist born in France but living in Glasgow. I work with Eco Techniques like Natural dyes, Eco Printing and Indigo dyeing using recycled material. I learn, teach and share my techniques, I work with communities and travel to Asia

%d bloggers like this: