Bjo Trimble hosted a mud dyeing class at the Griffin DyeWorks Fiber Retreat in Castaic, CA. The African tradition of bogolanfini (bogo=earth or mud; lan=by way of; fini=cloth) dates as far back as the 11th century AD, when this art served to decorate hunters' garments and women's wraparounds. Apparently, Anakin Skywallker used a bogolanfini wrap when he traveled with Padme in "The Clone Wars." At the Retreat, some of us created our own designs using the pigments and fixatives that Bjo prepared for us. After cleaning our fabrics, we soaked them in myrobalan, which is rich in tannins, and acts as a mordant. Soy milk was also used as a fixative. Slurries of mud with iron oxides, clay, and other earth minerals offered natural pigments. We used brushes to appy the mud dyes. Bjo instructed us to wait about two weeks before washing for the pigments to set.
Here, the Tans created some interesting designs with the mud dyes. Primitive motifs, timeless shapes, and mythical creatures graced our garments. You can email Bjo or visit her website for information on dyeing and other cool facts and tips about dyeing with mud!