Our handmade watercolours are all available on our Etsy store.
How to use: Wet surface of pan. Gently scrub the surface to allow the watercolour more time to rehydrate.
Storage: Store in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. Ensure the pan is dried out before keeping. In case mould, just wipe off the moldy part with some sanitizer and you would still be able to use as usual.
Indigo pigments have been used by various Asian and Southeast Asian cultures for centuries. Due to the staining, longer-lasting properties of the indigo, it was cultivated as an important crop across India (where it is speculated by some historians to have originated), China, Japan, Laos, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam.
It is hard to overstate the significance of this family of plants across human history. Although it was cultivated mainly in Asia, indigo dye made its way across the world through vast trade routes. Other than being used to dye fabrics (in particular, silk), it was also used as a pigment for paints, and even medicinal and cosmetic purposes. In fact, at one period of time, natural indigo was used to dye denim jeans that has since become a mainstay to the wardrobe of people all over the world!
In contemporary times, most of the dye used to tint denim and other fabrics have been replaced by synthetic ones. Nevertheless, there are still communities where the traditional method of extracting indigo dye is still very much alive, especially in our region of Southeast Asia.
In contemporary times, though, most of the dye used to tint denim and other fabrics have been replaced by synthetic ones. Nevertheless, there are still communities where the traditional method of extracting indigo dye is still very much alive. especially in the region of Southeast Asia.
When we refer to “indigo plants”, we are not referring to a specific plant species but actually a wide variety of plants that can give the indigo shade. Indigofera tinctoria, also known as “true indigo”, is just one of the plants that gifts this highly sought-after pigment. This is the particular pigment that we are using for our indigo paints presently! Our current batch of indigo pigments is acquired from a supplier who sources them from indigo farmers in India. We then combine it with our own binder and mull them into our watercolour paint pods.
We are in the process of trying to make our own, though! We are presently cultivating small bushes of Persicaria tinctoria, also known as the Japanese Indigo, that we intend to harvest pigments from when they are ready.
Extracting the indigo pigment can be a lengthy process. The leaves of indigo plants are harvested and then fermented. This is necessary because the molecule responsible for the blue pigment, indigotin, does not occur naturally in the plant itself. Fermentation draws out a glycoside called indican from the plant material, which under the right pH can be oxidized to produce indigotin.
We are in the midst of experimenting with this ourselves. Fermentation can be a messy process, but with some patience and with the right environment, we look forward to harvesting some indigo pigments from our growing Persicaria bush! Here are some pictures so far:
You can check out the following website link to Asian Textile Studies for more information on this fascinating pigment and process.