Blue is famously known as the hardest color to dye naturally. It only can be produced with a single plant: Indigo or Anil in Spanish. Its dyeing process is long, very difficult, and can easily be frustrated by any change in pH, temperature, exposure to oxygen, among other factors. Both great experience and great luck are required to naturally produce beautiful blue dyes.
Following its mission of research, revitalizing ancestral techniques, and natural dyes, the CTTC started working to recover the highly valued natural blue.
In 2008, the team incharge of the Indigo project conducted in-depth research, beginning to gather crucial bibliography related to its traditional use around the world. They later focused on doing research directly from the few existing native indigo growing plantations located in Curahuasi (Apurimac), La Conveción (Cusco), and the Ica region.
The strain of indigo native to South America is Indigófera Suffruticosa of the family Fabaceae, which was found in the province of La Convención, in the Cusco region. Growing indistinctively as a wild plant among many others, the plant wasn't achieving much height. At that time, other indigo strains began to be tested by the CTTC team as well, such as the Indigofera Tinctoria and the Polygonum Tinctorium. From 2009 to 2010, the different strains were grown at different altitudes in the Cusco region but, unfortunately, with no success.
After more research and experimentations, in 2010 the CTTC finally partnered with some farmers of La Convención to start cultivating the native strain of indigo found in pre-Columbian textiles (Indigófera Suffruticosa) in the community of Huyro. Due to the weather conditions particular to the tropical area, great results were achieved, and the foliage was able to be processed in pastes of indigo. The natural dye began to be tested with positive results achieving an outstanding color range from navy blue to a very light sky blue. In the last few years, the project has been postponed due to budget issues, however, it is a crucial project for the CTTC which is ready to be restarted.