recognized by its distinct lapis color, indigo is often referred to as “blue gold” due to its historically high value as a trading commodity. indigo is amongst the oldest dyes used for textile dying & printing (dating back up to 6,000 years ago.) it was also used by ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Peru and Iran, indigo became a rare commodity in Europe in the Middle Ages and due to its high demand eventually a synthetic was developed. derived from petrochemicals and producing toxic waste, synthetic indigo is nothing like the rare “blue gold” considered a “luxury product” by the ancient greeks & romans.
natural indigo is sustainable and is derived from plants. the process relies on oxidization, which involves submerging fabric into an indigo vat. upon removing the fabric from the vat and exposing it to air (oxygen) it turns from a neon green to blue. the deep, inky blue hue we recognize as indigo is the result of many repetitions of this process. the common technique used in indigo dying is shibori, a type Japanese “resist” dying which includes varying techniques from geometric to abstract (which we commonly refer to as “tie dye.”