MADE IN YUNNAN
In the beautiful mountainous Southwest of China, bordering Tibet, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam, a fabulous patchwork of ethnicities, languages and cultures!
HOW ARE THEY MADE?
The base fabric is a plain, good quality, undyed and unbleached cotton.
The pattern on the fabric is handmade in a laborious process that involves creating knots, stitching and tightly wrapping with string to prevent the indigo dye from entering thus creating the pattern.
After several immersions (depending on the depth of colour required) intraditional wooden dying vats and then air drying , all the little knots are opened up, the strings and threads removed and the fabric washed and ironed.
To create a symmetrical and consistent pattern demands skill, strength and patience. Fabric is done by the meter in repetitive patterns for clothing, or as single decorative pieces in various sizes from napkin size up to double bed sheet size.
Some of the decorative pieces are enhanced by embroidery, setting off the pattern even more,
WHO MAKES THEM?
This form of dying is a tradition of the Bai people living in the shadow of the Cang mountains by Erhai lake in Yunnan. The Bai are one of Chinas many nationalities with a long and rich history. The tradition of cloth dying is mostly carried on by the older generation while people living off the beaten track will do the sewing and preparation for dying. We work together with the individual families, paying their asking price.
WHAT DO YOU USE THEM FOR?
Each year we have some clothing designs in this beautiful fabric, while also supplying the stunning finished decorative pieces in two different sizes.They can have a practical application, such as a table cloth, a curtain, a throw, a wall hanging, maybe a bed cover, or anything else that your imagination might conjure!
INDIGO AS A DYE
Indigo is one of the oldest dyes known to mankind and well-loved for its subtle colouring magic. It is a plant and every bit of it is used in the dying process.
Unlike chemical dyes, indigo doesn't bond with the fabric but sticks in tiny particles to the weave. The dye is water soluble and therefore it will be impossible to make the fabric completely colourfast, but with some pre-treatment is entirely suitable for everyday use.
The colours will change over time with washing and from UV-light, but this adds to the character of the fabric and the contrast of the pattern will remain. All the subtle shades will shift slightly towards the violet spectrum, making it an ever changing piece of beauty.
HOW TO WASH INDIGO
You might consider wearing household gloves .....
First one has to get rid of the excess indigo in the following way:
1. Soak the piece in lukewarm water overnight with 7 parts water to 1 part white vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar fixes the dye, so during this soak no dye will be lost. The weave will loosen up and makes rinsing out the less well fixated indigo particles easier.
2. Throw vinegar water away and wash with a gentle detergent by hand for a short time in lukewarm, water. At this point the water will turn blue. No need to worry!
3. Rinse at least 10 times to get rid of the excess indigo. The water will slowly turn less blue.
4. Hang to drip dry.
5. Iron on a cotton setting, using steam if you wish. The base fabric is a high quality 100% cotton.
Your indigo tie-dye is now ready to be enjoyed without the dye rubbing off. However, please keep in mind that if wet, the indigo will slightly stain. For future washes we recommend to wash separately by hand, or machine on a normal cotton setting.
LET ME SHOW YOU AROUND:
The pattern of the design gets transferred onto the fabric by
painting a soluble liquid over a perforated plastic sheet.