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Harvesting Colors


Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources –roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood



Blue symbolism is important in nearly every culture on earth. Blue symbolism is significant in many areas including clothing.


Japanese Indigo Dye Recipe 5 - 6











The earliest known blue dyes were made from plantswoad in Europe, indigo in Asia and Africa, while blue pigments were made from minerals.


For your dye vat, you will likely find most of your berries in late sumer through fall. Harvest the berry-filled stems from several plants, leaving some for the birds to feast on. it’s important to note that the pokeberries are toxic to humans.

Japanese indigo

The first harvest should be around midsummer, or when the plant has gained some height and the leavs turn blue when bruised. prune back the stems, just above a leaf node, and harvest about 11.5 pounds of the leafy stems, removing the leaves for the dye vat. you’ll need a pound of leaves for the recipe.


Zinnias can be harvested when they are in bloom. Depending on where you live, that means from June through October. The flower regenerates quickly from being pruned back-the ‘Cut and Come Again‘ seed variety describes the zinnia growth cycle well.

3 Harvesting colors

Harvesting Colors Toyon

Toyon can be harvested in the winter. Leaves and fresh stems are the preferred material for the dye pot. Toyon sould be put into water and cooked soom after it is harvested; if the plant dries beforehand, the dye created will be weaker in color.

Prickly pear cactus

Prickly pear is harvested in the winter months. Once it is ready for harvest, it will easily separate from the cactus pad. Wear thick gloves if you want to pick without fear of getting pricked.


Tansy is native to the temperate regions of Europe and Central Asia. It was used in the Middle Ages to help women conceive and to prevent miscarriages. In modern medicine it is useful for treating jaundice and to bring down fevers.



1 lb Japanese indigo leaves 1 tbsp. baking soda 1 tbsp. Spectralite(also known as color-run remover)

1 Remove the leaves and place them into a 2 to 4 quart glass jar.

6 As oxygen is added, the solution will turn a bluish green color. Depending on how quickly you pour, this will take 6 to 10 minutes.

5 Japanese indigo dye recipe



Cover the leaves with warm water, secure the lid, and place the entire jar in a 20to 3-gallon pot, then fill the pot with enough water to partially cover the jar of leaves, without causing it to float.

7 Once the color has turned, add the Spectralite, and very gently stir it into the solution; this will remove oxygen from the indigio solution.

Heat up the pot o steam, making su ture hovers not m 170. A thermome tial tool to monit when the water i to turn a burgun three hours into


Gently place you warm skeins into ing drips of wate draw oxygen into

of water to a ure the temperamuch higher than eter is an essentor this process. in the jar begins ndy brown (about the process).

ur prewetted, o the dye, avoider, which can o the bowl.

Japanese Indigo Dye Recipe

4 Add baking soda to the bowl of indigo water to alkalize the bath.

9 Allow the skein to sit in the solution for approximately 10 minutes. You can gently move the skein through the liquid, but be careful not to add oxygen.

5 Place a second bowl next to the bowl of indigo water, and pour the solution from one bowl to the other, back and forth.

10 After 10 minutes, remove the skein and enjoy watching it transform from yellow to blue as it touches the air.


In the art and life of Europe during the early Middle Ages, blue played a minor role. The nobility wore red or purple, while only the poor wore blue clothing, coloured with poor-quality dyes made from the woad plant. Blue played no part in the rich costumes of the clergy or the architecture

or decoration of churches. This changed dramatically between 1130 and 1140 in Paris, when the Abbe Suger rebuilt the Saint Denis Basilica. He installed stained glass windows coloured with cobalt, which, combined with the light from the red glass, filled the church with a bluish violet light.

The church became the marvel of the Christian world, and the colour became known as the “bleu de Saint-Denis”. In the years that followed even more elegant blue stained glass windows were installed in other churches, including at Chartres Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.

Government official uniform

Different colors of goverment official uniforms represent the status of officials in Chosun period(July 1392 to October 1897) in South Korea.

Denim shirts

Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye to make blue “jeans“, but it’s also colored to make shirts in these days.

7 Clothing


Depicting Virgin Mary’s clothing

Another important factor in the increased prestige of the colour blue in the 12th century was the veneration of the Virgin Mary, and a change in the colours used to depict her clothing. Blue became associated with holiness, humility and virtue.

The Royal Navy blue suit

Uniform of a lieutenant in the Royal Navy (1777). Marine blue became the official colour of the Royal Navy uniform coat in 1748.

Blue jeans

Blue jeans, made of denim colored with indigo dye, patented by Levi Strauss in 1873, became an essential part of the wardrobe of young people beginning in the 1950s.


Designed by bora yoo Beginning graphic design 2013 Spring

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