An Introduction to Dyeing with Indigo

June 30, 2023
9 am to 5 pm


Dyeing with indigo is unlike any other dye. When you experience it for the first time it feels like magic! Watching the color develop as the fiber oxidizes when it leaves the dye pot has to be seen to be believed. There are several varieties of plants that contain indigotin pigment that are used by traditional cultures all over the world to obtain the color blue. At Sanborn Mills Farm we grow Persicaria tinctoria, also known as Polygonum, or Japanese indigo. For this pigment to be accessible to dyers, it must be extracted from the leaves and then put into an alkaline solution with a reducing agent. In this one day class we will begin by harvesting fresh indigo from our dye garden and dyeing silk scarves a brilliant turquoise. This quick process can only be done on silk. Then, in the afternoon, we will work with the established indigo vats we have in the studio to dye cotton bandanas a deeper blue. How to build and maintain a natural indigo vat will be explained. For people who have only ever used synthetic indigo, this will be interesting, as you learn there is nothing difficult about using natural indigo. Some simple shibori techniques will be taught. Students are invited to bring one piece of natural fiber clothing that they would like to dye as well.

Materials Fee: $25 includes 1 silk scarf & 1 cotton bandana, all dyes and assists, handout of recipes and instructions

Special Tools or Equipment: All materials will be provided. Students may bring 1 piece of their own natural fiber clothing for over-dyeing in the indigo vat.

Instructors COVID preference: Your instructor reserves the right to require safety requirements depending on the state of the pandemic at the time of the workshop.

Workshop Policies

Please be sure to read our policies before you register for a workshop.

Age Requirements

The minimum age to attend a regularly scheduled workshop is 16 years. We have set this age to ensure a safe, productive, and community-building experience for all of our students. There are no exceptions.

Accessibility & Accommodations

If you have questions about accessibility or would like to request reasonable accommodations, please contact our main office at 603-435-7314.

Student Cancellations

Cancellations must be made at least 30 days prior to the start date of a workshop in order to receive a refund. Registration and material costs will be refunded, minus a non-refundable $25.00 registration fee. A full refund will be made for any amount paid for overnight housing.

Sanborn Mills Farm Cancellations

Each workshop must have a minimum number of students to be held. If Sanborn Mills Farm finds it necessary to cancel a workshop, we will notify students two weeks prior to the scheduled workshop start date. A full refund will be provided to registered students. Refunds for a workshop purchased as a gift will be made to the purchaser only. Sanborn Mills Farm cannot be held responsible for any refunds for travel expenses or for off-site housing expenses incurred as the result of a cancellation of any kind.

Housing & Meals

Please refer to our housing page for more information.


Each workshop has its own safety procedures. Your instructor will review the specific safety requirements at the start of your workshop and throughout your class. Sanborn Mills Farm is a rural setting. If you are allergic to insect bites, please alert your instructor of your allergy and bring an epipen with you. For draft animal workshops or courses requiring time in the woods, be sure to review tick safety procedures from Tick Free NH. We advise students to wear comfortable clothing, comfortable and secure shoes, and consider your personal needs for a day or extended stay.