Tuesday, 8 September 2009

NATURAL DYED SILK SHAWLS


Our continuous search for new colours has resulted in three new shades, each made of blends using indigo. Blackberry soon became a favourite as it is a relatively strong colour and fairly similar to that of "Lac". Lac is a resin that is secreted by an insect (Laccifer Lacca) on the branches of ficus trees in India and surrounding parts of Asia. Blackberry is a bluer purple, which can be obtained from lac if it is over-dyed with indigo. Instead of over-dying, we mixed blackberry and indigo directly in the dyebath to produce a much darker shade than is possible by blackberry alone. The result can be seen in the photo below.

We have been producing light pink from "Majito" (madder root). A very weak solution of this dyestuff was added to a tiny amount of indigo, this resulted in a very soft shade somewhere between beige and kharki.

"Harro" (chebulic myrobolon) is a fruit that we use for yellow / yellow-kharki. The addition of a pinch of indigo brings out the greener side to harro. This experiment was done using left over dyebaths, so the colour pigments left in the bath were mild to say the least.


TOP: Blackberry and Indigo
MIDDLE: Madder Root and Indigo
BOTTOM: Chebulic Myrobolon and Indigo



Our current range of silk shawls are available at our stall at festivals and events. The online collection is limited to just five colours at present as we have those colours dyed in quantity and hold stock. The expanding range of experimental colours sees just a couple of silk shawls for most of the colours and shades. Due to the dyeing facilities available to us outside of our Nepal dying houses, we can only dye a few shawls at a time. With natural dyes, the only way to produce the same colour on different garments is to dye them at the same time. The fact that the dyebath gets weaker after each dyeing allows us to produces different tones of the same colour, but in smaller quantity.

Natural clothing, bags and so on...