Seaweed Dye points towards a sustainable textile future
Textile industry is amongst the most innovative creatives fields concerning questions of sustainability, though the developments are rarely seen by the public, as most projects still are in the experimental phase and take a lot of time to infiltrate into the mainstream. Still, researches seem to be worthy, as luckily we have a range of sources available that could be used as an alternative to the materials we are accustomed to clothe ourselves in. Dutch artist-researcher studio Nieke set out to map the possibilities of exactly this field.
Nienke examined seaweed first for her SEA ME project, which resulted in an experimental carpet made of seaweed yarn. Seaweed is an ideal material to play around with, as it grows fast, clears the water from nitrogen and phosphate, and the air from CO2. Drawing the conclusions, Nienke continued the research on the topic, now together with Xandra van der Eijk. Preceded by a long and thorough investigation, starting amongst the sheltered dikes of the Oosterschelde coast, they finally discovered a way to make a natural textile dye of seaweed.
They collected over 20 different species of seaweed ranging in colours from browns and greens to pinks and lilacs, and applied it to various textiles like wool, silk, cotton, and seaweed yarn. The innovation of the venture lies mainly in the fact that no freshwatrer is needed to the colouring process, salt (seawater) is enough to achieve a deep and durable colour. Their collection of 250 coloured threads was presented at the Dutch Design Week, where the public had a chance to take a look at a possible, more sustainable, eco-friendly future of the textile industry.
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