Feeling Blue: Developing Our Electric Blue

By Lotuff Leather

It started with a challenge as we sat around the table with our tanners at their centuries-old facility. "How can we specially develop the brightest, most vibrant blue while sticking to the natural, vegetable-tanned process?"

After all, blue, according to the iconoclastic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, is the color of “electricity and pure love.” These two desirable yet elusive elements are found in everything we do, and we needed them to be embodied in our new electric blue hue. 

After several tries, the Lotuff electric blue was born. Its birth marked a welcome, vibrant departure from our more traditional, neutral tones. It gives our palette a little burst of energy without being too overbearing--like that much-needed espresso that's ordered at 3 pm on a Wednesday. It's alive, striking, exotic. 

It's also awfully rare. It's nearly impossible to find such a color because of the difficulty involved in achieving it. Most blues of similar hue are surface treated and chemically dyed. Ours is fully struck through, with layers of translucent color culminating in a bright, natural surface. 

Explore the annals of art history and you'll find electric blue popping up throughout. Consider Renaissance artist Titian. He insisted upon using pure ultramarine pigment in his artwork, despite its costliness and elusiveness.

Twentieth-century French artist Yves Klein contemplated the afternoon sky and was so struck by its brilliance that he chemically developed and patented his own now-famous shade, International Klein Blue

Image Credit: © Charles Wilp / BPK, Berlin

Image Credit: © Charles Wilp / BPK, Berlin

La grande Anthropométrie bleue (ANT 105), ca. 1960

And let's not forget Frida, whose Blue House in the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City played host to her birth, her life, and her death. It now serves as a museum dedicated to her art. 

In bringing such a color into our own palette, we’re hoping to capture what Yves, Frida, and others did so well--create something of organic, striking, thoughtful beauty that permeates not just the end result, but the means as well. It's really more than just a simple color.