silk and natural dyes
The interesting thing about silk is that whether you source it from India or Thailand, the cocoons will most probably have originated in China.
Cultivated silk involves the brutal process of boiling larvae. I therefore choose to use wild silk, since the moths are allowed to eat their way out of the cocoons before processing. This is by no means an easy task as a lot of fabrics are made to look wild, but are in fact from cultivated silk.
Wild silk is usually called Tussah, it ranges in colour from of-white to grey, this is due to the different types of plant that the silk worms live on. Examples of which are oak plum and castor-bean plant. All these plants have varying amounts of tannin in their leaves.
Wild silk grows without cultivation and is gathered after the moth has emerged. True raw silk should not be confused with noil silk ,
woven from cultivated silk with short fibres, causing slubs and irregularities.
Raw silk is not degummed, this preserves the fibre and makes the silk very strong (most of the oldest textiles preserved are silk).
We are now using peace silk from Ahimsa in India. They produce a large variety of textiles derived from the Eria or Arrindi moth, found in Bengal, Assam and Nepal. These moths feed on the castor oil plant and produce a very white fibre, which takes the natural dyes that I use very well.
Their beautiful fabrics are handloomed, and they use dyes that don't contain heavy metals.
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