Honorably mentioned in The New York Times!

Elissa and I were surprised and delighted to be invited to interview with Michael Tortorello two weeks ago for an article in The New York Times! The article is in todays paper and available online. They even sent photographer Steve Legato to take pictures of us working. Some of those photos appear in the slide show. Take a look!

View the article online.

View the slide show.

- Mira Sophia

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The madder has sprung!

Only last week there was no sign of the madder but today she is there, thrusting vigorously upward, reaching for the sky. This is how we begin our 2012 growing season! A promising start after an unusual Spring. It’s going to be a good year. I can feel it!

- Mira Sophia

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Color Swatches

We have been working on some swatches. Making lots of over dye swatches with beautifully knitted fibers. Checkout http://www.admknitting.com/ who we have collaborated with on the swatches.

-Elissa

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Our workshop at the Design Center

The workshop was awesome! Thanks everyone who made it out. It makes us happy to share an age old process.

-Elissa

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Design Philadelphia workshop

Red and Yellow Plant Dye Workshop

Gain a hands-on understanding of the processes involved in using plant material to create naturally dyed fabrics. Workshop includes lecture and demonstration of using raw plant materials to make madder root red and marigold yellow. Leave workshop with a handkerchief or bracelet.

 

It is on October 21 from 10-1

Wheelchair accessible.
Admission: $5
Space is limited. RSVP  to blueredyellow.designs@gmail.com
http://www.blueredandyellow.com

 

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The plant formerly know as Polygonum tinctorium!

Today, Monday October 3rd, Elissa and I harvested the indigo we planted this spring. It was a solemn occasion. We are fast approaching the moment of truth. Will these plants, which we have lovingly cared for, yield the precious blue pigment we seek?

Persicaria tinctorium

As a gardener I always find harvest bittersweet. After months of carefully tending these plants we pull them all up. In less than an hour the patch is bare, no hint of what was so happily growing there only this morning.

harvest yield

If there is sorrow there is also a growing sense of excitement. The harvested indigo makes an impressive pile! We haven’t worked hard for nothing – this will be a success! Won’t it?

blue stained fingers

Certainly the blue stains on our fingers indicate something!

e picking leaves

Of course harvesting is the easy part. Now we must process the plants. To save space we decided to remove all the stems since they don’t contain the sought after pigment. Not surprisingly this took some time! Special ‘thank you’ to a couple friends (you know who you are!) who assisted with this task!

indigo pools

Many hours later we have two kiddie pools of leaves cozily steeping in the kitchen. I think that’s enough for one day, don’t you?

mantis

In closing I’d like to give a shout out to all the beneficial insects out there – we couldn’t have done this without you! Also I have only just learned that our indigo, common name of Japanese Indigo, no longer answers to the name of Polygonum tinctorium (thank you very much!) but prefers the moniker Persicaria tinctorium. Just so you know!

- Mira Sophia

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Madder matters

We are super excited that our first year of growing our madder root has turned out a success! Madder root is what the red coats used for their red. It makes an alizarin red or a Turkey Red. The root is what is used for harvesting as a dye. Patience is a virtue though, as it takes 2-3 years to mature into usable dye.

Just found this book at the Book Trader’s in olde city and am excited to read it!!

-Elissa

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