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Seaweed dye and animal + cellulose fibres

Seaweed dye and animal + cellulose fibres

Thanks to | Jef Montes | Tjeerd Veenhoven | Tom Dijkstra | Textiel Museum Tilburg

When dyeing you have to treat cellulose fibres and animal based fibres differently. We were giong to dye a blend of both (silk is animal based), this in itself forced us to think creative. The yarn had to be dyed with seaweed. We do experiment with different kinds of seaweed and algae to subtract colour, so this would be an interesting task.

The colour of seaweed is a soft platinum kind of green, really beautiful. Fashion designer Jef Montes and Adaptive Skins request this seaweed yarn coloured with seaweed for one of his projects. This yarn was composed of silk and Seacell. Seacell is a blend of organic cotton and seaweed. The real challenge was that we had to deal with already spun yarn and not the fibres. The normal way to go would be to dye the fibres and than spin the yarn. Fibers have to stay in a colour bath and on the right temperature for at least an hour (no higher than 70 degrees Celsius because of the silk). Because the spools were so tightly spooled there was no way the colour would penetrate the yarn other than the outside layer. This is why we had to spool all the yarn to heavy bundles.

Because of the COVID19 pandemic there were no companies in operation that would spool the yarn back on the cones. This is also not what we do, but simply hand over the colour dyed bundles to Jef was not an option. With summair instructions on what the cones should look like from the Textiel Museum, we made an improvised machine to cone the yarn. Our colleague Tjeerd Veenhoven had seen how they do this in India, which is partly by hand. Tom design a special ‘back and forth’ part, really cool, but still it was a lot of work. In the end these cones did not fit the machines in the Museum, which was a real shame. But luckily at the Textiel Museum together with Jef and the staff of the Museum we managed to get some of the wire onto the special cones, so Jef could make some fabric samples to test.