seeking the authentic


I love this momento mori. These boys are lending a hand to the traditional work of indigo-dyeing. Far in the mountains and plains where indigo is traditionally extracted and used as dyestuff, dyers used what was nearby for their vats. Well, urine tends to be plentiful no matter where you are.

A traditional recipe calls for using the urine of prepubescent boys, free of all the testosterone and other hormones that somehow might influence the vat. A friend with twins offered up a week of their drippings, which we allowed to ferment for two additional weeks (!!!) in Kim’s backyard. To make things even worse, we were told the container must be kept at about 120 degrees. South Minneapolitans, if you remember a particularly gruesome stench about two years back, it was all in the name of science.

So, did it work? Did the indigo, fermented with boy urine, turn our cloth a mighty deep blue? I wish I could say it did. Sadly, the only result was good fabric doused in  eye-stingingly ripe pee.

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