September 2, 2010

Organic Indigo

Today we take blue jeans for granted. But before the time synthetic dyes could be made to color cotton yarn, blue fabric was not always so easy to get.

Here in the poor mountain province of Guizhou featured earlier, minority women still extract natural indigo from the plant Indigofera like it was done before the turn of the 20th century. The indigo is used to color their beautiful ethnic costumes and other household textiles.

This ethnic Miao woman is in the process of extracting the indigo blue from the leaves... And I couldn't help wonder how long it would take for her hands to turn back to their natural skin color.

Guizhou, 2006



These images are posted for Alphabe Thursday hosted by Jenny where the prompt was the color INDIGO. Click on the link to see how others posted for the theme.

20 comments:

imriz said...

thanks for this informative post. it's always been nice going back here:)

cieldequimper said...

Fascinating shots. I love the houses.

Mary said...

I would think their hands would be permanently stained blue :-)

Kaori said...

Love the last photo of the whole street and her big pots! She probably knows of an old traditional trick to get the color off her hands :D

PS: yes, I do know guava! I love both the green ones and the pink ones ;D

JM said...

Just look at that village! It's beautiful! And the woman shots are great.

anjoe playhouse said...

Great photos of "working class heroes", who seems to be proud ;-)

Cannwin said...

absolutely fascinating. I love the last picture with the buildings in the background. it really stirs the imagination (well, at least mine)

Rob said...

Fascinating, I never knew how dyes were made. Fun to learn something new via photo-blogging.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Great photos! Love how the indigo pops off the page...

JDaniel4's Mom said...

The blue is so vibrant on her hands. I wonder if they stay that blue.

EG Wow said...

I enjoyed this post very much. Many years ago I attended a dye workshop where we dyed lambs wool with indigo. That is a time-consuming process!

jennyfreckles said...

She looks happy to have blue hands! Wonderful photos - it looks a most photogenic village.

PERMANENT POSIES said...

Wow! That was awesome to know. I didn't even realize that the dye they use with denim was now synthetic until someone else posted that. Thanks for the great post.

Anita Johnson said...

Totally amazing. Indigo....the same brilliant blue we see on the indigo bunting here.

Jo said...

that was interesting ... and the photos are just gorgeous!

Jingle said...

her facial impression is beautiful!

Jacob said...

I saw the beautiful sky photo and then scrolled down through this post and now am in "mood indigo"!

Your images are always so fascinating. And quite revelatory for someone who has never been in the Far East.

I did go to the Domus site and was very impressed. Congrats on the award. Your designs are so intriguing and creative...filled with the spirit of the countries and peoples they represent.

So what are you going to do next?

Evelyn said...

Awesome photos. Those houses would be so lovely to draw!

Jenny said...

What an amazing link to Rainbow Summer School.

You both taught and intriqued me in this little post. Those blue hands accompanying that radiant smile is an image that will stay in my mind.

Thank you for linking.

This was superb.

A+

H said...

I remember trying to dye some cloth when I was young. We boiled and mashed so many dandelion heads, but only succeded in turnng a small hanky a pasty off white colour :) I should have consulted an expert!