FEEDBACK FRIDAY: This Week in Natural Dye Questions

This week: Leather dyeing with cutch.

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:

If I was dyeing leather with dye extract, would you still recommend that I heat up the dye bath before I put the mordanted leather? I’m mostly curious if extracting a deeper color from something like cutch extract requires heat, or if it’s a result of water evaporation. Thanks!

I used to work with a very large leather tannery and one of the things I learned is that leather is extremely heat sensitive. If you heat it, you will get a very brittle result. It’s possible to “cook” the cutch extract for a period of time, let it cool, and then immerse the hide in the cooled solution, or you can make a solution of cutch extract in water and paint it on the hide.