VVVVVStéphanie Vilayphiou

4. BioChromes

Open Colours

Cecilia Raspanti quoted Johannes Itten twice during the Biochromes course:

Color is life; for a world without color appears to us as dead. Colors are primordial ideas, the children of light.

Johannes Itten

And with reason as colors are a fundamental aspect of our world. They are so natural that they can seem obvious, but they are not at all. And you realize that when you try to actually produce them. It is not that simple.

On computers, because we don't need to actually produce them, colors also seem obvious and accessible. But in 2022, Pantone Inc. who has the monopole of colors for printing, stopped its contract with Adobe. Since forever, Adobe had a contract to make Pantone colors available in all their software. In 2022, suddenly the colors would disappear. If you'd open a former document made with Pantone colors now, you would see black instead. If you want Pantone colors, you now need to buy subscriptions to Pantone directly. I've seen that they seem to be workarounds for that, but this shows how colors are actually not so obviously available. When you use only free/open source software you know that as there are no Pantone colors by default, you also need to apply workarounds. In 2010, artist ginger coons worked on making an open standard for colors to be free of Pantone, but to be able to apply those standards to many fields besides print: fabrics, paints, etc. Here is her talk Libre Graphics Meeting 2010. Sadly, it seems the project did not pursue afterwards.

Colors in general

Here are some inspirations about the use of colors in general.

Kukka | Laura Luchtman

Chromarama sprouted from my desire to make people aware of the overlooked role of visual limitations in design. My Chromarama series helps people with colour vision deficiency distinguish between colours. The work embodies colour and form studies, each with its own function for a particular type of colour blindness. Colours, shapes and textures are coordinated in such a way that the designs and colours are visible to the viewer.

Laura Luchtman

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Raw color

Raw Color is a duo (Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach) working on colors through many different fields: graphic design, photography, product design. I find their global work very inspiring as they address colors through such different supports.

Collection Palette from natural resources for Hollands Licht (art direction).
Temperature Blankets. Data visualization.

Recycled colors

I am deeply interested in how to obtain colors by using those who already exists through the recycling of materials. It has the advantage to obtain colors difficult to have with natural dyes and also to avoid the use of water.

Manteco

Manteco is a wool spinning factory in Prato, Italy. They recycle wool since 1943 (actually many wool factories in Prato do that). They describe here their process to reproduce the colors of their catalogue.

Sorting colors.
Choosing colors.
Weighins percentages of colors.

i-did

i-did is a factory in the Netherlands which makes felt panels out of recycled uniforms. Their color palette comes from the uniforms of different companies. I love that you can precisely source the origins of the fabric.

KLM uniforms
Dutch Army uniforms
Efteling uniforms (amusement park)

Carded waste

sock waste

tuft waste

Natural colors

Sasha Duerr

Sasha Duerr's book Natural Palettes: Inspiration from Plant-Based Color (2022) is a superb book on natural dyes. I just love

Book cover
Acorns dye. Non-mordanted; Alum; Alum + Iron; Iron.

Slow Stitch Studio

Slow Stitch Studio is a duo (Ann & Serge) who met during a training in textile crafts in Japan. They are now based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where they employ a team full-time to produce natural dyed clothing. I like the mix of traditional techniques with a more contemporary approach in the patterns.

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Laboratorium

Laboratorium is the experimental lab for art/design and biotechnology at KASK/School of Arts Ghent, Belgium. As a biolab in art and design it focuses on exploring different interactions between art, science and technology. María Boto is the responsible of the lab. They started by exploring colors from micro-organisms (algaes, bacteria…). Now they are exploring structural colors, those you find on beetles, butterflies, which are not pigments but a particular nanostructure which reflects light in a way that produces colors. This new research is visible on the Ecology of Colour Project.

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Nuances de plantes

Nuances de Plantes is a non-profit organization which has a pedagogical role to preserve and diffuse how textiles were naturally dyed. The core team is composed of Sylvie Lechat, Charlotte Marembert and Amandine Brun-Sauvant who I share my atelier with at Green Fabric. They have made the Kaleidogarden: a pedagogical garden of tinctorial plants that were used in the past in Brussels in the dyeing industry.

Map of Brussels locating the different industries in textile dyeing
Cota tinctoria, Golden marguerite

The Hole Story

I am generally not a super fan of ecoprinting on fabric (except for Slow Stitch Studio who make marvelous things with this technique). Anne Schlüter, from The Hole Story used this technique on yarn. I really love the variegated yarns it produces. We tried with Green Fabric to reproduce the process last year but our yarn was quite yellowish and not white, thus the results were not that nice. I would like to explore this technique furthermore but I haven't had the time this week.

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Alexandre D’Hubert

I met Alexandre in 2022 when he was finishing his Masters degree at ÉSAD Valence. He showed me his booklet silkscreened with inks he made by foraging plants and minerals during Covid in the North of France.

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Loes Bogers

https://class.textile-academy.org/2020/loes.bogers/files/recipes/cabbagedye/

Mixing carded wools

  • handcards
  • electronic spinning wheel
  • knitting machine / knitting needles

Process and workflow

madder root & reseda

campeche wood & solidage

solidage & madder (?)

Indigo

Tools

Process and workflow

Vat: 1-3-2 recipe

ingredients

  • 4L water
  • 32g indigo extract (8g/L)
  • xxx g fructose
  • xxx g slaked lime

tools

  • pestle/mortar
  • small bowls
  • big bucket
  • wooden stick
recipe
  • measure
  • add
  • simmer
  • mix
  • remove
  • strain
  • repeat

Dyeing

Natural dye

Sourcing
  • aulnes
  • lichens
  • pomegranate
  • achillée filipendule
  • saule

aulne

Recycling the dye into ink

After dyeing my little skein, I reduced the dye bath by warming it up and let it evaporate.

Guar gum

My first try was with gum guar.

Arabic gum

My second try was with arabic gum. The bath was more concentrated than the first one, so it is darker.

Ingredients & Recipes

Prepare this recipe [^1] by collecting the ingredients necessary, to be found in the list below:

ingredients
  • xxx gr madder root
  • xxx gr alum
  • xxx gr fabric
  • xxx ml xxx
  • xxx gr xxx

pink pigment

pigment from left-over dye bath
  • measure
  • add
  • simmer
  • mix
  • remove
  • strain
  • repeat