Indigo Shade Map and process


“Indigo - uniting the world The Blue Way”
/Valentin Bakardjiev/

Part of World Indigo Shade Map.

Excited to contribute to an innovative interactive art map project called 'Indigo Shade Map.' It is a growing initiative that shares the beauty of indigo, farming, ancestral knowledge, and, most importantly, humanism. Joining people from around the world who share the same passion - indigo.

My first Indigo Garden- from seeds to pigment.

Embarking on my journey with indigo began during my art education when I delved into the world of natural colors and dyes. In 2016, the seed was planted for what would later become my project, "Le Grand Bleu." This endeavor saw me using natural indigo dye as the foundation, employing the Japanese Shibori technique on various papers.

Captivated by the unique properties of indigo, my curiosity led me to explore the entire process—from growing the plant to extracting pigment through fermentation, drying leaves, and experimenting with different ways of utilizing the pigment. The roots of indigo dyeing trace back to 6,000 years ago, with the discovery of fabric dyed indigo in Peru. Shibori, an ancient Japanese dyeing technique, has been documented as far back as 238 CE.

Eager to cultivate my understanding, I sought guidance from contemporary growers on growing Japanese indigo from seeds. My journey took a significant step when I received my first Persicaria tinctoria (Koujoko) seeds from Marian Gorostizaga- Spain.

In 2020, Tolhuistuin* extended an invitation that opened doors for me. I was granted access to their facilities, enabling the creation of my experimental garden—a space dedicated to unraveling the intricate process of indigo cultivation.

*The Tolhuistuin, nestled on the banks of the IJ in Amsterdam Noord, stands as a cultural haven. It offers a platform for engaging in the city's development towards a sustainable existence. Rooted in the principles of radical inclusivity, Tolhuistuin harnesses the transformative power of art and culture, fostering inspiration, community, innovation, and relaxation.



2023 - "Mission" gallery at State Institute for Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Sofia, Bulgaria

My incredible indigo journey in pictures:

•    Planting and growing.
•    Extracted Indigo pigment through fermentation.
•    Prepared dry leaves for dyeing.
•    I made an artwork from the dry leaves celebrating the indigo plant.
•    Collected seeds for the next planting.

INDIGO- A Color of Depth and Symbolism

Indigo is a profound shade of blue that embodies the Earth’s essence, mirroring the tranquility of the heavens and the depths of our inner world. Unlike conventional dyes, indigo forms a protective layer of minuscule crystals, preserving the integrity of the surface. This remarkable feature not only enhances the longevity of indigo-dyed garments but also imparts antibacterial properties, making it a highly sought-after dye throughout history.

In ancient Japan, indigo was revered for its protective qualities, believed to imbue samurai armor with strength and resilience. Artists, too, were drawn to indigo’s vibrant hues and symbolic resonance, employing it in their creations to evoke a sense of serenity, depth, and spiritual awakening.

Indigo represents the boundless expanse of the human mind, the ability to delve into the mysteries of existence, and the quest for clarity amidst life’s complexities. It is a symbol of purity, mystery, and the infinite possibilities that lie within our grasp.

Indigo Shade Map

art bakard