The Shibori Technique & How to Grow Your Luffas

We hope you liked your Christmas presents! Below is their back story and a few tips on how to grow your own luffas next year!

Shibori

Did you know that indigo was used as a natural dye for rich blues dating back as early as 5,000 years ago? The Japanese technique known as “Shibori” is a manual resist dyeing technique much like today’s modern tie-dye technique. In our area, indigo was a vital part of the colonies’ establishment.

“Early Colonial settlers established plantations for it in the Caribbean, hoping to cash in on the worldwide demand for blue dye. As the first American colonies became established, indigo became second only to rice as the New World’s most profitable cash crop before the American Revolution.” [ learn more ]

Now inidgo and the Shibori technique are celebrated as part of our local heritage. Ossabaw Island hosts indigo dyeing workshops to utilize the abundant wild indigo on the island.

Our indigo dye for your towels are not native to our area, this year. We currently have indigo plants growing in our greenhouse. It takes 2+ years of growth before they are able to be cut and used for dye, so my hope is that in the future, we can add to your trendy Shibori collection with our own handmade dye.

Each one of your towels is unique and was hand rolled and crafted by us on a warm spring afternoon. The process takes a couple of days, but when you unravel these beauties, it’s all worth it! We hope you enjoy! 💙

What are Luffas?

Did you know? Luffa sponges are actually the inside of a gourd! It is a common misconception that luffas originate from the ocean, something like a sea sponge. On the contrary, they are a vining annual plant related to the cucumber and are actually edible in the beginning of their development. The sponge is the product of a luffa left on the vine to mature.

Although somewhat tricky to grow, once established, the luffa vine is over 30 feet long and has beautiful yellow flowers for months on end that attract all sorts of wildlife. On one happy vine, you can get anywhere from 10 to 40 gourds. Once dried or before the first frost, the gourd must be stripped of its skin, shaken of its seeds, thoroughly hosed out and dried in the sun or in the oven on a very low (175-200 degrees) for 1-2 hours.

Then you’ll have your own all-natural sponges to last throughout the year! Use in the shower (as a body scrub), in the kitchen, for cleaning floors- really anything you’d use a sponge or scrub for! Every two weeks, freshen your sponge up with a little vinegar bath or toss and get a new one.

Now here’s a funny how-to to get them to grow: https://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/growing-luffa-sponges/

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