On the way back from Nan to Chiang Mai, I decided to take a quick stop at the natural indigo-dye fabric studio, which I heard its name, Keawwanna, from the Internet a while ago. Located on Route 101 at Phrae, the shop is nested quietly behind the green wall of trees. The studio was closed, but the contact number is posted on the front door. A few minutes after a phone call, the shop manager, Khun Payom showed up and welcomed us to the shop.

A wide collections of products made from natural indigo dye fabric were displayed. Khun Payom was smiling and laughing, while telling us about the establishment of Keawwanna and the process of making indigo, locally called ‘hom’, production.

Hom, the plant produces indigo color, which was used to be locally grown around Phare, is now imported from Lao, since the local habitat requiring humid shade of big trees has been long gone from the Northern area of Thailand. The know-how hom, consequently, vanished for a generation. Khun Payom and her boss, Khun Wuttikai had to relearn the knowledge of hom color extraction and product development, step-by-step.

Just a few more conversation later, we were invited to visit Keawwanna’s workshop. Hom loves humid and cool place, so the studio is hidden deeper in the woods behind the studio, covered by big rain trees with a small irrigation canal passing through. With some more stories telling about hom, we were, then, allowed to have a hand-on hom-dying. My first hand-made indigo-dye T-shirt was done, with a help of Khun Payom.

– Awesome.

We always gain more from the less expected place, and learn more from the quietest person.

P Suwannaprom



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