Creating flaws with tie-dye and natural indigo

Indigo tee and digital print

Randomness is an important element in my prints - as I wrote on the previous post - but in this collection I wanted to highlight the other one that goes hand in hand with it: imperfection.

I'm not talking about making faulty items using cheap materials, of course. 

What I find really badass is to make something intentionally "flawed" in this world where there are unrealistic beauty standards even for fruits and vegetables!

In my digital prints, it's easy to create uneven colours and double exposure: randomness is a very friendly ally when I can see it all happening on my computer screen, and can hit Undo any time things get messy.

So every now and then, I go back to manual techniques to discover new effects.

This time, it was tie-dyeing with natural indigo.

Indigo vat

Indigo tie-dye making-of

Natural indigo pigment comes from a plant, and it takes a lot of plant to produce a bit of dye.

I bought mine ready to be used, but you still can't cut corners if you want deeper shades of blue: each t-shirt was carefully dipped in the indigo vat 7 times, and left to oxidise for 20 minutes between each dip.

All that after neatly folding, twisting and tying to create areas where the dye wouldn't reach.

After many tests, I was happy with this one:

'Mean kitty' indigo edition

Many other editions are yet to come (one of the studies is on Sample Sale) and I still wanna try the 25 dips that the Japanese supposedly do to reach the deepest navy blue.

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