Indigo dying of cotton in a Lantien Village
This picture was taken in Ban Nam Lue, a Lantien village, during the harvesting season of indigo plant (enough about indigo dying on someone else's website). The village grows the plants to dye their own clothing, but also to sell to a french NGO that runs a silk weaving cooperative. The plants are harvested, broken up and soaked for a few days in big vats of water, to which some naturally occurring chemicals are added, such as ash. the material ferments, and the resulting dye turns the newly woven cotton cloth dark blue ("indigo") or nearly black, depending on the mix..
During the process, the mixture is stirred and exposed to air. the stirring ladles are made of gourds. The triangular net is probably used to sift out little dirt particles, left over leaves etc. This net is usually used to collect river weed. It is home made in the village from a natural fibre. The shaped wooden tray is used for the cloth to lie on being exposed to the air, which sets the dye, the shape allows any surplus liquid to drip back into the vat.
f/3.2 @ 24 mm, 1/160, ISO 200, No Flash
© Kees Sprengers - Ethnic Diversity in Luang Namtha - Laos