You Asked, Kathy Answered: Indigo Heaters + Baskets

We get lots of emails from customers about challenges with dyeing and needing Botanical Colors’ President Kathy Hattori’s help. Why not share the learning so we can all benefit? From our inboxes to you, it’s simple: You Asked, Kathy Answered. Email questions@botanicalcolors with your plea for help! YOU ASKED: I am doing some indigo dyeing and a friend mentioned using an indigo bucket heater to keep the temperature of the water at the correct temperature. She mentioned you sold them, but can’t find them on your website. Do you stock them? If so, where can I see them? If not, … Read more

MORDANT MONDAY: Will Mordant Affect Indigo Dyeing?

We get mordant questions all the time at Botanical Colors so why not create Mordant Monday??? Got mordanting questions? Email [email protected] YOU ASKED: I use aluminum triformate as my mordant for cellulose and silk. I am planning to dye linen with weld and was told that I didn’t need to use a tannin before dyeing if using potassium triformate.If I do need to use a tannin and have already mordanted the linen, do I go back and use tannin and remordant? KATHY ANSWERED: I have concentrated on using a tannin pretreat with aluminum sulfate and haven’t done so as frequently … Read more

Construction Techniques with Aboubakar Fofana: Create a Pair of Stripcloth Trousers

Video From Aboubakar Fofana (LIVE) Bamako Studio Tour!

Last time on FEEDBACK FRIDAY, we welcomed back Malian artist, educator, indigo farmer and friend, Aboubakar Fofana. Aboubakar took us for a live tour of his Bamako studio where we saw him harvest indigo, do some indigo dyeing,  got to meet his artisans and see all the amazingness that is Aboubakar on his home turf. We received so many nice emails from people expressing how wonderful this episode was. You won’t want to miss it. More about Aboubakar and his summer residency with us: Botanical Colors is pleased to announce that we are hosting Aboubakar Fofana for a month-long 2022 … Read more

Dye Rings

FEEDBACK FRIDAY: This Week in Natural Dye Questions

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: What do you think the shelf life of dry extracts is? Dry extracts will last a long time.  The things that cause problems with them are heat and moisture. Keep the extracts in a tightly sealed container away from heat and light and they should last you for a long time. If a stored jar of extract … Read more

Your Go-To Denim Jeans Love Indigo

This series on Denimhunters by Thomas Stege Bojer is really good and if you’ve ever wondered how your go-to denim jeans are made, this is place to go. Of course we love part three on indigo dyeing and all the complexities of natural vs. synthetic when it comes to scaling production. Bojer writes: “Indigo is the blue in blue jeans. The dyestuff has been popular around the world for several millennia. It’s been the colour of royals, which made it desirable for the proletariat. It’s one of the most colorfast natural dyes. And it remains beautiful as it fades to … Read more

Nankeen Textile Dyeing with LuRu Home

LuRu Home brings a contemporary edge to a traditional craft by working with several of the remaining Chinese families using the Nankeen textile dyeing technique to create beautiful home decor pieces. What is Nankeen and how do they keep this craft alive you ask? Well, read on! Nankeen is a technique used to dye cotton and linen with indigo. Can you tell us a little more about its history? Chinese textile historians can trace the Nankeen dyeing tradition back 3,000 years to the Shang Dynasty. Indigo’s roots run deep across Asia; in China, rice farmers believed that indigo’s special properties provided … Read more

INTERVIEW: Donna Hardy of Sea Island Indigo

272 years after the first successful indigo crop was planted in the Carolina colonies, Donna Hardy of Sea Island Indigo got an idea to research and track down the original strain of indigo plants that were grown in colonial Charleston. Her research and persistence located a few remaining varieties in isolated areas that had been grown for generations: a pretty but humble shrub hiding its secret blue dye. Armed with a handful of seeds and the offer of a plot of land and free goat manure, Donna started her first crop of indigo and was overjoyed when she tested them … Read more