The indigo process begins as a seed in the ground. A year will then pass without much maintenance and, the indigo plant will be right for harvest. The plant will then be cut whole and left in barrels to soak for three days. The plant is then removed and a soft stone is mixed into the water where, it will be used to strengthen the indigo dye. The water is then poured back onto itself creating a natural reaction to the air where, the colour will richen even further. Once the water has settled, an indigo paste will sit at the bottom. This is then placed into large bags to dry and the excess water disposed.
New water is then passed through ash and material into large barrels where, the water will be combined with the dry indigo paste. This mixture is stirred each morning until the ash has completely combined with the indigo. At this point the indigo is ready for dying.
Prior to dying, small colour tests are made. Larger amounts are then dyed by soaking the fabric for 5-10 minutes at a time over a period of 2-3 hours. This process is continued for every weather permitting day for the length of 2-3 months ensuring the dye is permanently fixed. At this stage the dyed material is ready for production. Products such as clothes, normally require 2-3 washes where, from then it usually will not fade within its entire lifetime.
Firstly, farmland is worked in preparation for planting. The seeds are then planted in holes dug closely together which, ensures tall and straight stems. Then in a short four months the hemp will be ready to harvest. The whole stems are cut and then stripped of all their leaves. The stems are bundled and left to dry over the next week.
Once the hemp has dried, it will sit on the cold floor overnight to absorb the moisture in the air. This step helps to soften the hemp for the following day where, workers will peel the skin from the stems and work it in a large mortar and pestle. The hemp can now be spun onto the workers hands to make long threads. These threads are then boiled for around half an hour before being spun more intensely on a man powered spinning machine.
After being spun it is wound onto a large frame before being boiled with ash over the next seven days. The ash helps to naturally colour the hemp thread. Next, the thread will be rolled over a large stone with wax to create a smooth and shiny finish. After winding it back on to the large frame for a second time the hemp will then be prepared onto spools in preparation for weaving. Then once the loom has been set up, the weaving can begin.