Images + words by Kristen Kellogg
Image of Kristen by Aida Mollenkamp
With origins dating back to some of the earliest civilizations, indigo’s beautiful blue hues have connected cultures worldwide. A flowering plant that produces a rich blue dye went from a valued spice that was once traded in Italy and other countries, to become commercial in 1498. Indigo eventually became in such high demand that they had to start cultivating it in the new world.
I remember the first time I laid eyes on it… in the small town of Mitla just outside of Oaxaca City four years ago. A local artisan gave the most beautiful presentation on how the rugs made here were hand dyed from fruits and plants. I’ll never forget the deep vibrant color the indigo produced as he ran it across his hand.
After my recent visit to Thailand, it was too funny to have discovered one of my travel friends and I had just practiced indigo dyeing for the first time in two separate countries within a week of each other.
Lacy (@TheExpate) in Japan:
My hands on experience at Kram Sakon in Sakon Nakhon, a small village in the Northeast of Isaan, Thailand was quite fun, especially to photograph the process with my new friends Aida and Valerie: the smell of the vats fermenting, the way the washing bowls reflected the thatch roof above, and the finished products hanging inside local storefront.
Thailand is one of eight countries working to preserve this beautiful artform. I hope you enjoy the art of this process in my color story below.