Indigo, for centuries the only pigment able to dye textiles blue. The blue from jeans and Japanese kimonos. Bengal was one of the biggest indigo producing areas, until the indigo revolt in 1859. Farmers rebelled against exploitation and the invention of synthetic indigo around 1890 led to a sharp decline in the use and cultivation of natural indigo.
The Living Blue cooperative brought the indigo tradition back to life and creates much needed economic activities in the poor Northwest of Bangladesh. Everyone working in the cooperative owns a share and shares in the profits.
This collection of silk indigo scarves from Tulsi Crafts is made by Living Blue. They made products of an amazingly high quality by using a very refined shibori technique.
Indigofera tinctoria, the plant where the natural dye is extracted from. The plants are also grown by the cooperative.
After fermenting the pigment is dried and ground to a fine powder.
With the powder a dye vat can be made.
The scarves are stitched, pleated and bound using the shibori technique.
They are dipped into the vat.
After dyeing the stitches are removed.
In some spots the dye hasn’t penetrated, creating these white and blue patterns.
The process of shibori, dyeing and finishing takes around five days. Twelve people work on an indigo scarf, each with their own specialty. The time and knowledge they invest in making these indigo scarves definitely shows in the end result.
photos of the dyeing process: living blue
product photos: tulsi crafts