Spreading Indigo Blue in Northern Thailand

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In Northern Thailand, you may find indigo blue cotton fabric, as shirts worn by local people, handicrafts sold at shops, along the streets of towns like Chiang Mai, Phrae and Nan.

Picture1Some of them are produced by companies and factories, others are by families and individuals who take part in some part of the production process.

Ratree’s family engages in indigo dying. The family lives in Pa Klang, Nan Province. They are part of Hmong community and practice Hmong tradition.

Picture2Ratree and her husband, Jhong make indigo colour batik, using metal stamps of various Hmong traditional patterns. Some of the stamps are inherited from their parents and grandparents, some others are created and hand made by Jhong.



Nu Lee, their eldest daughter, is a young skilled artisan. She has been involved in indigo dye business but in a different way from her parents.

Nu Lee works with Simone, who is a textile / product designer developing the art and skills of this Hmong family. Nu Lee works in Simone’s workshop, cutting cotton materials and sewing up all the batik home products. She also makes textile jewelry and bags designed by Simone.

Her jobs include assisting Simone for administration of stock control and sale results, managing the data in the computer.


Simone loves Indigo blue and Hmong traditional patterns. She has developed home decor items such as cushions, bedspreads and tablecloths.

Her designs are original, inspired by Hmong traditional patterns. The compositions of her design are drafted on the cotton cloths and stamped with wax by Ratree and Jong.  The waxed fabric is sent to town where urban artisans complete the indigo color dye.


Stamps are dipped into hot wax  and print the patterns on the white cotton fabric.  The waxed cotton cloths are then plunged in big cauldrons of dye a couple of times.  When the indigo colour comes out well, the cloths are plunged in boiling water to melt the wax out. The waxed parts are now appear as white patterns on indigo blue.

Most difficult part is waxing oblique crosses. I have to concentrate to place the wax exactly as designed by Simone.  I feel very happy when I see the completed work.



Hot Bread Cafe, Nan

More about Simon’s work >> http://www.hilltribeindigobatik.com/welcome/contact

Sales of Simon’s products >> https://www.novica.com/artistdetail/index.cfm?faid=7150


Hmong New Year celebration is one of the biggest festival for Hmong people. People wear traditional costume, adding new creative fashion flavors.

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