Plant-based & Natural Color Dyes

 Natural dyeing with plant based dyes | Muezart

Look at that gorgeous pink color on that Eri silk yarn. Not all of our colors come from plants. This azalea pink is made with an ingredient from an insect's secretion. Lac is the name of this very tiny insect (Laccifer lacca) which is parasitic on certain trees found in our state of Meghalaya, India. This insect secretion is cultivated and cooked into a dye bath with plant mordants, and this is the result! 

 

"Maintaining one’s culture, values and traditions is beyond price"

~ GINANO LUI 

gooseberry tree bark is a natural mordant and dye color - Muezart
Gooseberry Tree Bark: A Natural Color Dye

Discovering and creating natural dyes from what’s available in their surroundings is something that the women in villages of Umden, Mawlong, and Margnar are proud of. Creating plant-based color is an heirloom knowledge that has been passed down from their forefathers.

women weavers trek to the nearby forest to collect mordants and plants for dyeing.
Weavers collecting plants from the forest
 
creating orange color from the annatto seed- bixa orellana
Collecting, preparing, processing, and boiling the plants in the dye bath.
 
annatto plant with seeds for plant-based dyeingannatto seed in the dye bath
The natural color dyes are inspired by nature
The Muezart team spent a week with a group of women in the Ri-Bhoi village. We were trained in natural dyes. Each day we were inspired and amazed at the color that comes from the combination of plants, mordants, insects, and minerals all collected from the forest.
plant-based colored eri silk yarn - Muezart
Working Together As a Team

The women from the villages come together as a community where they laugh and enjoy their work to continue to preserve this unique tradition of natural dyeing. The Eri silk fiber is a protein fiber and it absorbs the natural dye bath so well. The color of nature is beautiful and everyone is in awe of what mother earth has to offer. 

Weavers Carry on the Traditions of Their Forefathers

Weavers love to create natural color
Kong B. Syiem and her weaving friends have now archived more than 40 natural plant-based dye colors.
natural plant-based mordants for fixing the dye color
The mordant used to make the color stick to the fabric is made from leaves and bark.

 

“I love discovering plants for creating dyes, I want to learn more it doesn’t matter if it takes a year learning is a continuous process”

~ Kong B. Syiem, one of Muezart's weaving partners

 

natural orange colornatural grey color dyenatural red color dye
What is unique and different about the process of natural dyeing practiced in Meghalaya is that the artisans follow an “All Natural Color Dye” process. The color is fixed with plant mordants. This is rare since most dyers use alum or other chemicals for fixing the color.

 

turmeric natural color dye  for eri silk yarn

Experience Natural Dyeing 

The Muezart team would love for you to experience the full cycle of a naturally dyed fiber like Eri Silk. Find out more about experiences. Let's connect and #flourishtogehter

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published