Many long time indigo dyers have been curious about the liquid indigo that I sell that works like an immersion dye. How can it possibly work that way? Traditional vatted indigo is not water soluble and it’s created through a complex set of steps and careful dipping, not in an immersion dye pot. Our liquid indigo is actually derived from an old recipe that was called Saxon Blue. Saxon Blue isn’t very easy to create at home unless you are really comfortable around battery acid and if it’s not made correctly it isn’t lightfast. Early attempts to create Saxon Blue resulted in the blue color (indigo) washing completely away, as it was not fixed to the cloth in the standard reduction/oxidation process, nor had it been formulated accurately.
Botanical Colors liquid indigo overcomes these limitations and provides you with a marvelous addition to the natural dye palette. It does not make the midnight in Kyoto blue black that traditional vatted indigo is capable of creating but you can get beautiful turquoise and teal shades as well as a lovely cornflower color. When its combined with other natural colors, the rest of the color wheel unfolds and you can have a lot of fun experimenting. The Saxon Blue color has been stabilized and is now lightfast and pH neutral. We offer our liquid indigo in a sampler kit online. It is also available separately in 25 to 100 gram bottles.
For a wonderful discussion on the trials and tribulations of creating Saxon Blue and Saxon Green, check out this incredible ebook by Cooper Union professor Sarah Lowengard called The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe. This is one of my favorite online resources on the history of color and technology and how perceptions of color, philosophy and technological advances were intermingled.