Online workshop: The Indigo Henna Vat with Kathy Hattori


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Indigo is the fabled blue of legend, history and culture and has fascinated artists and scholars for centuries.  Indigo is the most popular dye that we carry and there are different ways to make an indigo vat for dipping. Our favorite is the 1-2-3 Henna vat, where henna, this unique natural dye and body tattoo (mehndi) paint plays an integral part of an indigo vat, yielding beautiful results.

Join me as I instruct you how to create the henna vat and we’ll spend the session dipping, observing and creating beautiful dark shades. I’ll demonstrate some shibori techniques that will allow you to create patterned fabric using the henna. I’ll show you the secrets to deep color, and how to balance the vat and other troubleshooting tips.

You will leave this class with a clear understanding of how to build a vat, dip, create patterns, and put the vat to bed and get it ready for future dipping.

Date and Time

Saturday, April 20 from 10AM-1PM Pacific. We will send you the Zoom link prior to the workshop.

How the workshop is structured:

  • A list of the materials and equipment needed will be sent to you via email after registration. We’ve also listed the information below.
  • I will send you pre-work including detailed instructions on how to create your vat in advance so that you are ready to dip for our workshop session.
  • We will hold a live, Zoom session on Saturday, April 20 from 10AM-1PM Pacific.  The session will be recorded and available until October 1, 2024 for all participants.
  • You will have ample time to practice dipping and we will provide information on after care, including how to store the vat and how to revive the vat for future use.

Materials List

  • 100 grams of indigo
  • 200 grams of calcium hydroxide
  • 300 grams of henna powder
  • 5 gallon (19-20 liter) bucket with a lid is a good size to run experiments.
  • Spatula
  • Long Handled Stirring Spoon or heavy dowel
  • Gloves
  • Kitchen Scale that weighs in grams
  • Paper towels
  • Scissors
  • Access to boiling hot water.  You will need a little over 4 gallons or 17 liters
  • Measuring cups and spoons 
  • Stirring spoons
  • A  pitcher that can hold about a quart/liter of water
  • Containers for mixing indigo, fructose and calcium hydroxide separately with water – approx. 1-2 quarts/liters each. These can be plastic containers or non-reactive metal.
  • Thermometer
  • 2 clean 5 gallon (20 liter) buckets with lids for soaking and rinsing.
  • Tarp or dropcloth to protect surfaces
  • Fabrics for dipping – we will send detailed information on suitable fabrics to use.

Tips for setting up your work area

  • Get comfortable.  Create a work area that is a good height for the indigo vat, so you aren’t unnecessarily stooping or reaching.  Protect any work surfaces.  You can either dip standing up (using a table or countertop), or sitting (using a low bench or cinder blocks to put your indigo vat bucket on). 

Questions?  email [email protected]



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