Indigo: The Natural Vat

by - Wednesday, May 06, 2009

2009 Maiwa Textile Symposium

Instructor Vivien Prideaux

For many indigo dyers, working with a natural fermentation vat is the ultimate achievement of their craft. The fermentation vat has a personality, a rhythm, and, so it seems, a will of its own. When mastered and understood, the natural vat will provide a wonderful satisfaction as it yields both subtle tones and blues of remarkable depth. The natural vat can be maintained ready for use for many months and even years.

Vivien Prideaux has worked with natural indigo all over the world. She arrives from Great Britian to teach this workshop. Vivien will share her passion and traditional knowledge in a structured way, as she demonstrates the preparation and long-term maintenance of both “bio” and “zinc lime,” natural indigo fermentation vats.

Students will prepare natural materials for dyeing using shibori (the inventive art of Japanese shaped resist dyeing), folding, clamping, pleating, and pole wrapping. The resulting fabrics will be stunning!

This workshop is an intense period of work. Everyone is welcome from absolute beginners to experienced dyers.

Through demonstrations, samples, group discussions, one-to-one tutorials, and lectures, students will gain knowledge of the magic that is the fermentation vat.

Vivien Prideaux

Vivien Prideaux works from her garden studio in Fowey, Cornwall, UK. For twenty-five years she has worked as a dyer, embroiderer, freelance tutor, lecturer, and writer. Her passion and commitment to textiles has taken her all over the world, sourcing unusual hand-woven, embroidered, and natural fabrics and traditional dyeing techniques from India, Thailand, New Zealand, Western Samoa, and Japan.

For Vivien, cloth and stitch are a natural means of expression. She uses shibori, indigo, and natural dyes as contemporary techniques of our time, but she also delves into traditional and cultural references to create a wider vocabulary to use in her work.

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