Written by Kitty Lee
Hello, I would like to share my amazing maker experience in the wild to you. In April, I joined a five days Thailand natural dyeing workshop held by EARTH.er in 20th-24th April 2019.
I arrived two days earlier before the workshop started. In this two days, I went to the Makersapce in ChingMai.
I discovered many fabric market in ChiangMai too. The colourful clothes always attract your eyes.
In Day 1 of the workshop, the workshop started, I met the dyeing team next to the airport and we went to our home stay (Nakoli Foundation) together. It's a peaceful and wonderful home, we were surrounded by greens.
Day 2 of the workshop, we went to the dyeing studio owned by P. Muck. He introduced different natural dyeing materials to us. Like lac can make red colour, first you need to mush the lac in to small pieces, then pour in boiling water, give it a nice stir, repeat this step for a couple of times, until most of the red pigment come out from the lac, then you can get a bowl of red natural pigment. For turning the grading of red, we can add in certain amount of tamarind juice or alum. This two things can affect pigment's pH value, so that the colour change according to the amount you added. If you want bright red, you can add more tamarind juice. if you want to have pink, then you need to add more alum in.
Lac can not collect it in all season, P. Muck said we can get the powder in the market. You just need to mix the powder with water, and you can get a big bowl of pigment, it's really convenient, but really expansive.
Day 3 of the workshop, P. Muck showed us how to make dark brown colour with Ebony fruits, you can collect them from August to September. The process of colour extraction is similar, but don't forget to filter it before you use, otherwise the fruit remains will stick on your fabric when you are dyeing, in result the colour cannot spread out evenly.
In the afternoon, we did batik. Batik is using wax painting on cloth, then take it to do dyeing, the area covered by wax cannot absorb pigment. After the batik dyeing, throw the cloth into boiling water to melt the wax, then you can see the pattern or drawing you made. You can even use paintbrush to draw your unique pattern or dip the wooden chop in wax to transfer your design on the fabric.
Day 4 of the workshop, we continued our dyeing for the whole day.
Day 5, the last day of the workshop. We stay at our home stay in the morning. P. Mudee who is the owner of Nakoli Foundation taught us the traditional weaving.
Before we went back to the city, P. Muck brought us to Pa-da cotton textile museum. There are so many delicate clothes, with many dyeing information. But we can not take photos in the museum, we can only take photos in ground floor, I was feeling sad about this.
It was such an amazing and unforgettable trip. Back to Hong Kong, I miss the scenery along the road to P. Muck studio, the fresh natural food, the smiles on the people faces and the peaceful house.