natural dyeing · studio projects

Indigo & Advent

Last week Austin had its first frost of the winter as well as–surprise!–several inches of snow. I anticipated that this would mean the end of both my cotton & my indigo suffruticosa, but only the upper branches of the dye garden showed signs of frost-bite.


Nevertheless, I decided this would be a good time to make my first indigo harvest. I’m simply drying the leaves for now, following the instructions of Deb McClintock, a dyer in the nearby Texas Hill County.

I also did a general cutting-back, so some of the branches still had fresh leaves. I don’t have a good place to hang branches up to dry, so I simply stripped the branches and will let the leaves dry evenly before storing or using them.


I also harvested scores of rattly seeds pods. Deb has an excellent description of her process of winnowing the seeds, but I probably won’t have a chance to do that until after Christmas.


There’s something fitting about drying leaves & harvesting seeds during Advent. Both are works of patience, preparation, and hope.


5 thoughts on “Indigo & Advent

  1. Nice blog entry, I strip the IS leaves immediately, separating out seed pods to dry and setting the leaves in a protective place to dry. Only my Japanese indigo is hung for a day or two to make them easier to strip. You’ll see how easy the IS is to strip.

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