The Plants Behind our Newest Plant-Dyed Quilts
We recently sat down (virtually) with Rita Naskar and asked her to tell us more about the natural elements used in the dyeing process of our plant-dyed quilts. Rita is a master seamstress and master dyer, skilled in using natural pigments for coloring plant-based fibers. She leads the production of quilts made by Kindred’s artisan partners in West Bengal, India.
We love everything about the slow process of harvesting the native plants to hand-dyeing the threads used to weave our fabric. We feel so lucky to have been able to get a glimpse into this heritage art form and be an active participant in this type of closed loop, sustainable textile creation. Wooo girl. This is the stuff that lights me up! I can tell you that this is just the surface for me - once I got a taste of it, I was intrigued to learn more. Maybe I’ll even try my own hand at it sometime in my kitchen studio.
Creating the Master Color
Before more pigment is added, the organic cotton threads are treated with a mordant to ensure colorfastness. Two natural mordants are used: Alum (Potassium aluminum sulfate) and Myrobalan - ground nuts of the Indian hog plum tree or Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), native to Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Indochina and south China. Rita explained that Myrobalan creates a yellow-ish color known as the master color, and is a good foundation for all other dyes. Next, the weavers experiment with different shades using various fruits and plants sourced locally in West Bengal.
One of the dyers in our artisan collective dipping threads to test the color.
The quilt in "Ochre" is made from Haritaki, pomegranate rinds, marigold, and iodized salt.
Mint: Haritaki, pomegranate rinds, and indigo
This beautiful shade of pink is made with Haritaki, madder root, iodized salt.
Shop these amazing, plant-dyed quilts here!