Scarves with dyes from nature
More than two thirds of our scarves are colored with dyes from nature. In this way we contribute to a sustainable planet. We learned how dyes are extracted from plants, flowers, fruit and trees when we drove through Thailand in search of beautiful cotton scarves. Here’s what we know now.
Nature often pays a high price
We recently saw in a report about the making of fast fashion that nature often pays a high price for economic activity in a region.
We saw a small village near a textile factory in Myanmar.
The water of the village river was a fluorescent red. Residents said it had been years since a fish had swam in it. Everything was dead. The consequences of mass consumption were painfully visible.
But we learned that things can be done differently during our search for beautiful scarves in Thailand.
Paint class in Loei
One of the first cities we visited was Loei. There we came into contact with Dan who told us about dyeing with natural dyes.
The craft of making paint from nature is centuries old. Due to the rise of fast fashion, the techniques have increasingly come under pressure in recent decades. Now that more attention is being paid to the environment, old, non-polluting paint techniques are being used more often.
Dan showed us how he makes blue paint from the leaves of the Indigo plant. With this paint he colors the cotton that he brings to rural women in the villages around Loei. The ladies make the shawls from the cotton.
This first acquaintance made us completely enthusiastic about dyeing with natural dyes. It made us offer a lot of scarves with natural dyes.
How do you make natural dye?
Depending on the raw material used, there are different techniques for making dye.
- Leaves, flowers and plants are usually soaked in cold water.
- Bacteria, fungi and oxygen soon start the fermentation process.
- Over time, the dye can be scooped out of the water.
The fermentation process is delicate, complicated and takes time.
Bark, roots and wood are boiled to extract the color.
Where our colors come from
The weavers taught us a lot about the dye raw materials for colours. These are the most important.
|Pink:||bark of the sappan tree, berries, flowers|
|Reddish brown :||beets, hibiscus|
|Grey/Black:||blackberry, trunk of the myrobalan tree, ebony|
|Red purple:||berries, mangosteen|
|Green:||leaf of the mulberry bush|
|Dark green:||leaf of mango tree, eucalyptus tree, grass, nettles,|
|Yellow:||turmeric, mango tree wood, bay leaves, flowers, yellow roots, jackfruit tree wood|
Dye before or after weaving
Most scarves are dyed before weaving. An exception to this are these scarves from Mukdahan. White cotton scarves are tied off in a special way before they get a dye bath. In this way a unique and original pattern is created. Judge yourself.
More space for sustainable scarves
At the time, we didn’t know that the environment would play an important role in the scarves we were going to sell. We were initially impressed by the quality of the craftsmanship. Supporting poor farmers was also an important motivation for us.
Visiting the makers of this beautiful cotton handicraft taught us more about sustainable dyeing. Their drive and enthusiasm mean that we are now making more room in our range for scarves with natural dyes.
These people taught us that contributing to a better world and caring for nature cost little. We are happy to pass on their message through these cotton scarves.
Also read: what is an eco scarf