The production of light blue dyes
NATURAL LIGHT INDIGO DYE
The dye used for traditional Lan Yin Hua Bu is made from the indigo fermented from bluegrass, water and a certain percentage of lime and alcohol. The colour of the finished product is very deep, like navy, close to black when there is little light.
We all know that in traditional manual dyeing at normal temperature, we have to do dip-dye for many times to achieve navy colour close to midnight blue. We were asked by Moloh Tetbury to create a lighter shade of blue, inspired by a vintage scarf they had bought from us. At first we all thought, to get lighter coloured fabric, we only need to do dip-dye for fewer times and the dye materials used is the same but this is not the case.
Light-blue dyes are specially designed created using less indigo into the traditional small cylinder (ceramic cylinder used by the ordinary people in the past to save water, about 60cm in diameter, round cylinder), and re-adjust the proportion of the lime and alcohol.
This process cannot be completed once, but many tests on small fabrics and many adjustments of the proportion of lime and alcohol, to bring up the required color. The dyeing process and the times of dyeing is almost the same as the traditional navy one.
If the dye stays aside for a long time, it will precipitate so that cannot be used for dyeing. So every single time we make an order, we must re-make the dye. Because of this, the colours of light-blue fabrics from different batches cannot be completely consistent but can be similar.
You never know what colour the finished product in your hands will show. Perhaps this is the charm of artisanal traditional manual dyeing.