Women's Limited Artist Series: Sukumo Indigo

Women's Limited Artist Series: Sukumo Indigo

95.00

Limited edition artist made, by Ricketts Indigo. Trained in traditional Japanese indigo growing, fermenting and dyeing techniques, Ricketts Indigo exists on the forefront of the resurgent interest in plant dyes. These shirts are truly wearable art.

Origins: Organic cotton grown in USA, yarn spun and knit in the Carolinas, sewn in the San Francisco Bay Area. Organic indigo grown, fermented and dyed by Ricketts Indigo in Indiana.

Questions? We would love to help. hello@harvestandmill.com

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Persicaria tinctoria  (indigo) grown organically by Ricketts Indigo

Persicaria tinctoria (indigo) grown organically by Ricketts Indigo

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The practice of Ricketts Indigo

Rowland and Chinami Ricketts use natural materials and traditional processes to create contemporary textiles. Chinami hand-weaves narrow width yardage for kimono and obi while Rowland hand-dyes textiles that span art and design. Together we grow all the indigo that colors our cloth, investing ourselves and our time in our textiles because we believe this way of working to be an essential part of the material’s integrity and authenticity.

Indigo seedlings ready to be planted

Indigo seedlings ready to be planted

Our indigo (Persicaria tinctoria) begins its journey from seed to cloth in the early spring.  The seedlings are planted and nurtured in the field.

Dried indigo leaves

Dried indigo leaves

When harvested, the dye-bearing leaves are dried and separated from the stems. 

Pile of indigo leaves ready for composting to start

Pile of indigo leaves ready for composting to start

After composting, sukumo is bagged

After composting, sukumo is bagged

These dry indigo leaves are moistened with water and composted for one hundred days to make the traditional Japanese indigo dye-stuff known as sukumo.

The living dye vat

The living dye vat

The dye vat is made by fermenting the sukumo in wood-ash lye with powdered limestone and wheat bran. Through this living process the indigo is naturally reduced, and almost one full year after the seeds were planted, dyeing can begin. 

In their studio

In their studio

We rely on the natural world around us to enrich our work with its inherent vitality.  We grow our plants organically at home in Bloomington, Indiana. We use no synthetic chemicals at any stage of the farming or dyeing process.  When the dye bath has reached the end of its life, it is recycled back as fertilizer to the indigo fields where it was born. We hold fast to the idea of moving forward by looking back to the historical techniques and process of Japanese indigo farming and dyeing and the high level of environmental responsibility and stewardship they represent. 

Indigo seeds collected and saved for next year

Indigo seeds collected and saved for next year