Bio-colours sustainable colour: Material, colour and patterning, choice for textiles that can have a positive impact on our well-being.
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractBio-Colours Sustainable Colour: Material, Colour and Patterning Choice for Textiles that can have a Positive Impact on our Well-Being. The aim of this paper is to address the question: Can the textiles with which we surround ourselves improve our health and well-being while contributing to a lessening the environmental impact of their production? Both design practice and theoretical research informed this paper by researching into the anti-bacterial properties of natural dyes while considering the methods of application of Bio-colours and their extracts to fabrics as a future sustainable colouring and patterning medium. The main objective of this paper is to bring together several aspects of the author’s research: That of the potential healing properties of natural dyes alongside practical experimentation into eco-patterning: A sustainable method for the colouring of materials via shibori and hand processes along side the use of light (differing wavelengths) as a potential method of aesthetic decoration, that is underpinned by the desire to design fabrics that are ethically and sustainably viable. Instigated by the output of collaborative research between two different disciplines: That of textile design and early coloration methods with historical photographic imaging techniques. The research initially considered the symbiotic relationships between natural plant extracts had with ‘Anthotypes’, a very early form of photography c1840 and considered the success and failure of natural dye extracts to create images under different application techniques and light exposure sources. The aim of which, was to understand the success or failure of this type of patterning process on textiles and consider the question: Could this kind of photographic image making be applied as a future, sustainable method of design generation, colouration and patterning of fabric? The objective was in creating an alternative sustainable surface design process that relies upon light and natural colouring substances/dyes as the main patterning and processing medium. By embracing the ethos of ‘slow textiles’ as an alternative to ‘fast fashion’, the research considered the impact natural and synthetic dyes, fibres and the textile coloration industry have as a whole on the environment and well being of the world’s population. Practical design research investigations explored the potential for improving the welfare of the user through considered selection of the colouring matter, natural dye extracts; fibre bases such as hemp, ramie, bamboo, milk and soya alongside solar eco-patterning techniques with an overall aim of producing a patterned material that has sustainable and ethical credentials. Although some very successful outputs were achieved: The main disadvantage of this technique being sustainable being that the fugitive colorant that provides the photographic image/design continues to fade with light and time. New investigations lead to an improvement in fastness once a design has been created, with developments in application of the colouring matter as well as methods for enhancing the light fastness after exposure and patterning by applying an after-mordant such as Tannins from Oak and Sumac, plants high in aluminium; Symplocos Cochinchinensis and Camellia alongside Aluminium, Iron or Copper acetates to the patterned materials after exposure or the application of UV blockers such as Vitamin C, lemon and lime juice that does not normally affect the colour of the patterning produced or effect the potential healing properties of material bases and dyestuffs employed.
CitationWells, K. (2018) 'Bio-colours sustainable colour: Material, colour and patterning , choice for textiles that can have a positive impact on our well-being’ [Presentation]. Bio-colours conference: Bio-prospecting, bio-reﬁnery, application and performance improvement of bio-based colourants. Breda, The Netherlands: AVANS. 28-29 May.
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