Natural Dye Workshop with Michel Garcia and Sustainable Dye Practice

A film series and discussion forum dedicated to the science and practice of natural dyes and pigments using sustainable methods.

Making an indigo vat: Part 2 of 2

GL, one of our readers wrote to us with questions about her indigo vat. In Part 1, we shared  WSN President and producer of Natural Dye Workshop DVDs,  Yoshiko Wada‘s response. In Part 2, we share the response from renowned woven shibori artist and natural dyer Catherine Ellis.


Yoshiko Wada and Catherine Ellis sharing a lighter moment during a natural dye workshop at Arrowmont School.

Dear GL,

Diagnosis of an indigo vat requires observing lots of little details. I usually start my own indigo vats with very hot water, so I am wondering if that is really the problem. I’ll answer this by asking some questions about your vat…

~ How long ago did you make your vat?

~ When did you decide that it was not working?

~ What were your initial ingredients and quantities?

~ How much water did you use?

~ How hot was your water?

~ Have you taken a pH reading of the vat? It should be at 12 or so to start the reduction process.

~ What does the liquid in the vat look like?

~ If you remove a little bit of the liquid in a spoon or small jar, what color is that liquid?

~ Do you see un-dissolved indigo particles floating in it?


You can also read Catherine’s earlier post on the Dye Nerd’s blog- Maintaining and Troubleshooting an organic indigo vat.

One comment on “Making an indigo vat: Part 2 of 2

  1. WSN
    February 20, 2016

    Reblogged this on World Shibori Network and commented:

    Long-time WSN friend and woven shibori expert Catherine Ellis shares a few tips for troubleshooting an indigo vat, over at the Dye Nerd’s Blog.

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