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ColourNext 2017: Emphasising slow and mindful living with eco-printing workshop:Asian Paints ColourNext introduced a participatory event, examining the process of Eco Printing and Slow Dyeing, with an immersive workshop. Participants engaged with the concept of sustainability through hands-on experimentation of alternative methods of expressing print and colour.

In the wake of a fast-paced lifestyle and the overwhelming, almost intrusive internet penetration, there is an increasing need to slow down in our everyday lives. To take the time to stare out of a window, let our mind wander and eyes travel.

Like any science, building an understanding of the materials and textures is essential. For instance, marigold flowers and turmeric roots produce stains of yellow with varying intensity. Rusted nuts and bolts can release a deep brown to black colour depending on how long one leaves it to oxidize in the vat. Coffee beans, tea leaves and henna leaves can exude hues of browns and reds. Jamun, pomegranate seeds, rose petals, beetroot and onion peels can result in shades of pinks and purple. A variety of leaves that do not release colours can be pressed to create textures and impressions.

Eco Printing is essentially the traditional way of dyeing fabrics before machines came in. The key is patience.

The next important thing is the type of fabric and tying technique we used. We were introduced to muslin, silk and cotton, and were encouraged us to pick up ingredients of our choice to place in a pattern we desired. Suddenly, we felt like little kids playing with flowers and leaves and creating something new and wondrous out of simple everyday objects.

Using a thick thread, we tied the wrapped or bundled cloth to tighten the folds and hold it together. I tried knotting my fabric in different parts to create a tie-dye effect and in the process, learnt about the small but important steps such as, dipping ingredients like petals and leaves in an alkaline solution, or simply soaking the fabric itself in the solutions to seal the colours better. Finally, we put in our fabrics to either steam or boil.

This method is the most eco friendly process however, it is also a time-consuming one, much like ageing wine; the longer you let the ingredients marinate, the deeper the colours become.

The Solar Jars

While our scrolls were in the baths, we were told of Solar Jars. Solar Jars are usually made from glass and filled with a variety of solutions, but can even be filled with a simple vinegar and water solution. Leave it in a sunny spot and wait for the fabric to catch colour.

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Lab 25 May 2017

What I took home from ColourNext’s Eco Printing Workshop

As a part of ColourNext 2017’s launch at ID2017 in Delhi,The Colour Workshop conducted a session exploring the theme of Slow Living further, with Eco Printing using natural ingredients as an alternative process for dyeing fabric. Some techniques explored were Steaming, Boiling and Solar Jars.

In the wake of a fast-paced lifestyle and the overwhelming, almost intrusive internet penetration, there is an increasing need to slow down in our everyday lives. To take the time to stare out of a window, let our mind wander and eyes travel. Asian Paints ColourNext explored this very sentiment coupled with the motive of sustainability, in their 2017 theme Slow Living, that focused on celebrating the journey of immersing oneself in the moment.

ColourNext 2017: Emphasising slow and mindful living with eco-printing workshop:Asian Paints ColourNext introduced a participatory event, examining the process of Eco Printing and Slow Dyeing, with an immersive workshop. Participants engaged with the concept of sustainability through hands-on experimentation of alternative methods of expressing print and colour.

In the wake of a fast-paced lifestyle and the overwhelming, almost intrusive internet penetration, there is an increasing need to slow down in our everyday lives. To take the time to stare out of a window, let our mind wander and eyes travel.

Meditative Doodles 

In keeping with this choice to take things slow and cherish the little things, the Eco Printing workshop started with an exercise of Meditative Doodles with large brushes made out of plants, rope, dried twigs and such. As participants, we were given little ink bowls and a large expanse of brown paper where we were to try and draw our breathing patterns or just express in any abstract form our current state of mind. It was a relaxing start, setting the tone for the rest of the workshop. We were asked to disengage from our phones and enjoy the process of getting our hands dirty for this duration. Perhaps that did the trick.

Hues, Petals and Tannins.

Eco Printing is essentially the traditional way of dyeing fabrics before machines came in. The key is patience.

Eco Printing is essentially the traditional way of dyeing fabrics before machines came in. The key is patience.

Like any science, building an understanding of the materials and textures is essential. For instance, marigold flowers and turmeric roots produce stains of yellow with varying intensity. Rusted nuts and bolts can release a deep brown to black colour depending on how long one leaves it to oxidize in the vat. Coffee beans, tea leaves and henna leaves can exude hues of browns and reds. Jamun, pomegranate seeds, rose petals, beetroot and onion peels can result in shades of pinks and purple. A variety of leaves that do not release colours can be pressed to create textures and impressions. Ingredients such as salt, coal ash, iron filing solutions, vinegar etc. play the role of catalysts, and help deepen the tannins released.

Like any science, building an understanding of the materials and textures is essential. For instance, marigold flowers and turmeric roots produce stains of yellow with varying intensity. Rusted nuts and bolts can release a deep brown to black colour depending on how long one leaves it to oxidize in the vat. Coffee beans, tea leaves and henna leaves can exude hues of browns and reds. Jamun, pomegranate seeds, rose petals, beetroot and onion peels can result in shades of pinks and purple. A variety of leaves that do not release colours can be pressed to create textures and impressions.

As participants, we were given little ink bowls and a large expanse of brown paper where we were to try and draw our breathing patterns or just express in any abstract form our current state of mind.

Fabric & Tying Techniques

The next important thing is the type of fabric and tying technique we used. We were introduced to muslin, silk and cotton, and were encouraged to pick up ingredients of our choice to place in a pattern we desired. We then rolled the cloth like a scroll or wrapped it like a ball with a weighted rock in the centre as per our preference. Suddenly, we felt like little kids playing with flowers and leaves and creating something new and wondrous out of simple everyday objects.

The next important thing is the type of fabric and tying technique we used. We were introduced to muslin, silk and cotton, and were encouraged us to pick up ingredients of our choice to place in a pattern we desired. Suddenly, we felt like little kids playing with flowers and leaves and creating something new and wondrous out of simple everyday objects.

Using a thick thread, we tied the wrapped or bundled cloth to tighten the folds and hold it together. I tried knotting my fabric in different parts to create a tie-dye effect and in the process, learnt about the small but important steps such as, dipping ingredients like petals and leaves in an alkaline solution, or simply soaking the fabric itself in the solutions to seal the colours better. Finally, we put in our fabrics to either steam or boil.

Using a thick thread, we tied the wrapped or bundled cloth to tighten the folds and hold it together. I tried knotting my fabric in different parts to create a tie-dye effect and in the process, learnt about the small but important steps such as, dipping ingredients like petals and leaves in an alkaline solution, or simply soaking the fabric itself in the solutions to seal the colours better. Finally, we put in our fabrics to either steam or boil.

What are Solar Jars?

While our scrolls were in the baths, we were told of Solar Jars. This method is the most eco friendly process however, it is also a time-consuming one, much like ageing wine; the longer you let the ingredients marinate, the deeper the colours become.

This method is the most eco friendly process however, it is also a time-consuming one, much like ageing wine; the longer you let the ingredients marinate, the deeper the colours become.

The Solar Jars

While our scrolls were in the baths, we were told of Solar Jars. Solar Jars are usually made from glass and filled with a variety of solutions, but can even be filled with a simple vinegar and water solution. Leave it in a sunny spot and wait for the fabric to catch colour.

Depending on the length and width of the fabric you dye, the jars can vary in size. Solar Jars are usually made from glass and filled with a variety of solutions, but can even be filled with a simple vinegar and water solution. Leave it in a sunny spot and wait for the fabric to catch colour.

As we capped our solar jars, the time had arrived to unwrap our scrolls and see what we had created. Interesting patterns emerged and we noted that the steaming of the fabric created muted and more natural tones than boiling

A variety of leaves that do not release colours can be pressed to create textures and impressions. Ingredients such as salt, coal ash, iron filing solutions, vinegar etc. play the role of catalysts, and help deepen the tannins released.

Key Takeaway

The workshops left us feeling relaxed after a satisfying couple of hours of experimentation. All too soon, it was time to take our little Solar Jars and scrolls back to our maddening city lives. We tend to usually feel helpless and overwhelmed when we try to untangle our lives in the pace of today. Slow Living is that necessary pause; that return to the solace and calm of nature, to draw inspiration from it, and apply that approach to our lifestyle and creative endeavours. To savour the little joys of the physical world and use it to drive ourselves ahead. To that end, the theme is apt.

The author of this account, Namrata Ganguly was one of the participants of the Slow Living workshop held at ColourNext 2017, Mumbai. She is a writer, and an artist in her daily life and was an Artist Manager for Kulture Shop in her previous stint. To read up on ColourNext’s exploration of the Slow Living theme via colour palettes, finishes and textures click here.