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INTERVIEW: Kathy Hattori of Botanical Colors Natural Dyes

INTERVIEW: Kathy Hattori of Botanical Colors Natural Dyes

Posted by : Mary Wutz   /  

We love nettle and the only thing we love more is natural plant dyes on our most favorite fiber. Wild Himalayan Nettle is the purest fiber available on the market due to its remote growing range and absence of chemicals in all layers of creation. So why would we ever want to add a toxic, synthetic color to it?

We started working with Kathy Hattori, natural dye guru and founder of Botanical Colors because of her expertise in dyeing Seam Siren's nettle fiber scarves. Each of our Kulung scarves is hand harvested, hand spun and hand woven in Nepal and come in a handful of beautiful designs created by the women of Bala in Nepal.

We caught up with Botanical Colors recently to ask a few questions about the natural dye process and her work with us.

1. How did you and Mary meet each other and realize that natural dyes were a good fit for Seam Siren?
Mary and I met when she called to discuss an intriguing natural dye project using color and phyto-energy frequencies in her products. I was very interested as I had been researching the Indian art of Ayurvastra, which uses plant dyes to imbue textiles with beautiful color and healing properties and her ideas were quite fascinating.

2. Is madder the only color you are dyeing her scarves with and why madder?
Madder is an ancient color and it is believed that its color properties promote healing.  Madder on nettle creates an especially rich and vibrant shade.  Although madder is primarily used as a textile dye, in various cultures it is considered a medicinal herb and tonic as well. Since Mary's work is based on plant and color frequency she must have resonated with the color, and it is truly beautiful.

3. Talk about how nettle fiber reacts to natural dyes?
Nettle loves natural dyes, and is also an important medicinal and food plant.  Unbleached nettle fiber has a richly colored undertone that enhances the dye colors. It also possesses a unique, crisp hand, like linen, that gets softer with use.  The third thing I love about nettle is that it is easily and sustainably grown and provides an income to villages in rural areas.

4. What do you think about "wearing your medicine" in the form of healthy clothing and dyes?
I think it's a brilliant concept. Most of us have been "wearing our toxins" (albeit unknowingly) so Seam Siren and Botanical Colors offer an antidote to unsafe color and finishes that are largely unregulated in the fast fashion industry.

Learn more about our natural dye and harvesting process here.

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