FEEDBACK FRIDAY: This Week in Natural Dye Questions

This week: Mordanting with wheat bran and what is pre-reduced indigo?

Each week, we are emailed with questions from our natural dye community asking simple and complex questions that we thought might be worth sharing. Here are a handful from this week answered by natural dyer in chief, Kathy Hattori, Founder of Botanical Colors:

I’ve been using the wheat bran post mordant bath for cellulosic fibers and I’m wondering if it’s possible to dry out the wheat bran and reuse it? Or should I discard it after one use? I checked your blog post on mordanting but I didn’t see anything about it.

This is an interesting question! I have not dried my used wheat bran and reused it but I have reused wheat bran for several mordanting sessions and obtained good results. For the first mordant bath, I gather the wheat bran in a cheesecloth and make a little bag of it, then immerse it in very hot water to obtain a milky liquid. Then I add the liquid to a water bath and add the mordanted goods. For the second use, what I look for is if the wheat bran is still exuding a milky liquid when it’s squeezed. If it does, then I reuse it, adding more very hot water to a small container and then immersing the wheat bran bag in the container to get another round of milky liquid.

What is pre-reduced indigo and do you sell it?

Pre-reduced indigo is an indigo vat that has been “freeze-dried” to create sparkly dark blue indigo crystals, so you should need to only add water to create a vat. Some pre-reduced kits also supply more reducing agent to keep the vat balanced. Nearly all pre-reduced indigo is synthetic indigo as this is a common ingredient for industrial indigo denim dyeing.

Try out our organic indigo here.