31 July 2018: As recently reported by The Times of India, top global fashion brands may get hit as the local dyeing industry is facing shortage of dyes due to China importing raw materials, used to make dyes, from India. The news outlet reported, on June 16th, that dyeing factories considered scaling down operations just as orders were pouring in from international markets for the spring 2019 season. The reason? A price hike of dyes by nearly 30 per cent over 10-15 days was making it unsustainable to carry on operations.
Natural dyes come at a premium, but without hazard to the environment. At The Colours of Nature, we declare now as good a time as ever to go natural, if you haven’t already.
11 May 2018: On May 6th, 2018, The Colours of Nature celebrated its 25th Birthday! We had a special lunch with birthday cake and dance performances for all of the staff. Three women distinguished guests of honour also joined in the festivities: Victoria Vijayakumar (Manager of Aranya Naturals), Ratna Krishnakumar (Founder of Aranya Naturals) and Jagada Rajappa (a Natural dye expert who has long worked with weavers across India). On this special anniversary of 25 years of existence, we were very happy to also celebrate that our new natural indigo fermentation dyeing facilities are functional. Funded by Levi Strauss & Co. this set up significantly increases our dyeing capacity as well as saves water due to its suitability to dyeing at fibre stage.
7 March 2018: The New Indian Express came to visit. We share an extract of the article they published, with the full article available here. Always something of interest for the natural indigo fan in articles on The Colours of Nature. And we like their headline “Live and let dye”, which to us also means Live and let live, because that is what natural dyes do.
Extract from article in The New Indian Express on March 4th 2018.
“Natural Dyeing in Action” – Welcome to The Colours of Nature Open House. All are invited to come and see dyeing in action at our premises on Monday March 12thfrom 9am until 12.30 and from 3.30pm until 5pm. Meet at the gates at 9am or at 3.30pm.
Jesus will take you through the production and show you the new installation coming up – we are increasing our natural indigo fibre dye capacity supported by Levi Strauss & Co. and 62 pots of 1000 litre capacity have found a home behind the current dye set up. The tour will end at the Showroom where you can also look at the available products. Remember, we don’t only dye in indigo blue – different shades – but also manage the entire palette using plants like marigold, rubia cordifolia, and more. The Colours of Nature is one of few truly natural dye units in the world – savour the opportunity!
4 January 2018: (…) “Larraona is among the last custodians of the age-old practice of cold vat dyeing—a process where the water is never changed, instead undergoing a refresh every day with ‘food’ for the microbes that enable fermentation. “It is the most eco-friendly way of dyeing. But it takes a lot of effort and money,” he says. “You need a good nose to tell if your vat has the right PH.” A trusted lieutenant maintains the pots, coming in even on holidays. When he first came to India, Larraona doggedly ploughed through fat 19th-century volumes published by state revenue and agricultural departments to learn ancient and vanishing processes of dyeing. “That is how I picked up English,” he says. At his house, a happy mess of toys, dogs and books, I flip through pages heavily highlighted in neon, detailing entire dyeing processes practised at the time in Sambalpur, Mysore and Seoni, among other centres. (…) The full article is available here: www.openthemagazine.com/article/new-year-2018-double-issue/the-dyeing-art-of-india
4 December 2017: The Hindu: “We are reliably informed there are more blue jeans on this planet than there are people, and Jesus Ciriza Larraona, a Spaniard, is currently working with dye manufacturers in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere to develop organic dye for Levi’s jeans. He also manufactures organic indigo clothing for Auroville.” In the picture Jesus with Nigerian artist Gasali Adeyemo, two dye-masters together at the Sutra. Jesus’ presentation telling the story of how The Colours came to be was very well received. www.thehindu.com article
25 November 2017: In Living colour is the heading of an article in the current issue of Elle Decor. “Ever wondered how your favourite colour came to be?” they ask and continue with saying they discovered theirs, indigo, near quaint Puducherry. It is a short piece beautifully featuring The Colours of Nature and we are happy to get the word out.
31 October 2017: Getting ready to go and tell the story of the beginnings of The Colours of Nature, how I started out designing a couple of chessboard carpets and ended up settling in South India and setting up a unit to offer natural dyes and dyeing.
The Indigo Sutra is an international event to celebrate, promote and revive natural indigo. I will tell my personal story of the revival of the natural indigo fermentation dye process in India, just as it was about to disappear forever…
Hope to see you in Kolkata! @TheColoursofNatureEcoDyes www.sutratextilestudies.com
25 October 2017: Implementation of the LS&Co. funded Collaboratory project to reduce water usage continues at The Colours of Nature. As part of the new natural indigo fermentation dyeing facility which will help reduce water usage, from fibre to fashion, new, larger vats will be fabricated and installed. Again, an Auroville-based construction unit is on the job. The Centre for Scientific Research (CSR) has already produced some of the vats currently installed at TCoN and the casting mold is already in place. They were clearly the right choice for the order of an additional 40 pots, each holding 1,000 litres of the liquid used for dip-dyeing. The drawings that serve as a basis for the making of these bio fermenter vessels, or amphoras, were produced by Jesus for The Colours of Nature. Contrary to the pots installed at the beginnings of this natural dye unit, the seam now runs vertically as opposed to horizontally as was previously the case. For more information, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesus-ciriza-larraona-34191031 #LSCollab @levistraussco.