The Natural Dye Programme – Bringing back the forgotten colours
This programme is driven by our love for naturally dyed ikat and batik and our focus on sustainability issues during their productions. We believe that natural dyes are friendly and adequate and pleasing to use and we can find a huge varieties of natural dye materials available in Indonesia today. In the past, natural dyes were the only source of colour available for textile dying in Indonesia, and it was still widely used right up to the 1970’s, until synthetic dyes started to invade weaving and batik regions, providing quick solutions to textile speedy production.
In addition to environmental issues, we are extremely concerned about the artisans’ health issues surrounding the use of chemical dyes. For many years now, we have witnessed the artisans working intensely with synthetic dyes and we are very concerned for their lack of knowledge on how to manage the dyeing processes safely and how to handle the waste sufficiently. Most dyers are not fully aware of the danger of direct exposure to chemical from synthetic dyes and are often handling the substance without proper equipment. The waste from the dyeing processes are usually thrown into an open sewer system, which later end up in the local rivers.
There will be several small projects created within this programme, where we work directly with the artisans, making the most of natural dye materials from around Indonesia. Our projects ranging from creating natural dye gardens and encouraging the artisans to produce natural dyes from these gardens.
We have seen a few major campaigns in Indonesia for the use of natural dyes, where regular natural dye workshops are organised by local charities and campaigners, however, the artisans often don’t feel inspired and enthused to take up natural dyeing due to difficulties in finding sufficient dye materials.
We hope with our small natural dye projects we can inject some passion and commitment to artisans, providing them with long term access to materials, hands-on natural dyeing processes and educational support when needed to further understand these processes. We will also provide marketing support for the textiles produced in this way.