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Natural Dyes

The Natural Dye Catalog is the second-part of a two piece catalog investigating traditional textile and natural dying process practices as a proscpective growth market cottage industry in war-ridden Northern Sri Lanka. Iproposed and led the project to research, study, experiment, document, and ultimately engage with local Sri Lankan war widows on how producing sustainable textile products and fabrics could lead to income-generating practices.



After conducting extensive research and documentation on the potential of traditional Sri Lanka textile techniques to alleviate war widows of socio-economic post-civil war, I was able to travel across Sri Lanka to conduct further research on sustainable textile practices, specifically natural dying techniques. 


Process and Ethnographic Research

The Textile Initiative investigated the natural dying process and its potential as a prospectve market for Sri Lanka. Throughout our stay, we collected various materials from local markets, a dye shop and some rural villages. After we returned we tested these materials in RISD’s Dye Lab. Our goal was to find some native materials that might be used in future projects to color products. We believe that products made using natural dyes could help industries produce jobs, create a product that is unique to Sri Lanka and be in line with Sri Lanka’s tendency to be environmentally conscious manufacturing



The catalog was the outcome of the experimental studies we conducted in both Sri Lanka and Rhode Island, along with a dying workshop I helped facilitate in the Northern Sri Lanka war-riden village of Kilinochhi.  We were able to host war widows and young women and taught  the different techniques we had researched: batik, natural dying, and weaving. The result was a wide array of different experiments made by the women that promoted traditional knowledge but also an eagerness to engage in cottage industry practices.