Natural Dyeing in Bali
At Tarum's Studios
A family-run natural fabric and yarn dyeing business situated near the east coast of Bali started by Bapak Made (right). Bapak Made's brother Andika (Left) kindly showed us around the workshop and explained how everything worked.
(Please note that we have not been paid to write this review, we just wanted to share our resources and provide you with information that may interest you )
The Process behind natural dyeing of cotton fabric and yarn
Andika started by explaining the plants they use for each colour and the process they have developed to produce stronger colours. In the main, they have found that leaves are better for producing stronger colours than any other part of the plant. The only exception is citrum bark, used to make red. In the table, you can see which plants produce which colour, these colours can then be mixed. If you scroll over/click on the images below you'll see the processes Tarum uses.
Ethical Methods behind the dyeing process
Growing the plants - I was curious to know where the plants came from and I was delighted to hear that Tarum has their own piece of land up in Ubud and don’t use any chemicals on it and never have done. Unfortunately, they can’t call it organic as the previous owners used chemicals on it before they owned it 8 years ago. They also are given leaves and bark as a byproduct from the government when trees are cut down; this again means that they can’t guarantee whether they are organically grown, but it’s great to hear that something that is going to be thrown away gets a new lease of life.
The fabric and yarn - Natural dye only takes to natural fibers such as cotton, silk, hemp etc. so although the fabrics and yarns used aren't certified organic products it's good to know that no synthetic fabrics are insight here.
Waste Water - Tarum has really considered the impact of every part of the process. Due to the fact that all the dyes are natural the water can be reused again and again after it has been neutralised by running it through a bed of water hydrangeas.
Scraps of Fabric - Tarum also receives scraps of fabric produced by clothing factories and the ladies at Tarum then weave these scraps into rugs and fabric. It’s so magical to see that as much ‘waste’ as possible is reused here.
If YOu would like any fabric/yarn dyed
We get a lot of questions here at The Sewing Retreat about natural dyeing and we’re so glad we had the opportunity to be shown around Tarum so we are even more informed about this process. Although we don’t offer this service if anyone would like any fabric or yarn dyeing, Tarum do ship worldwide and their prices are decent (we haven’t been paid to tell you this and we don't receive any commission, we're just sharing the love). It’s a shame it’s not organic but it’s great to see they’re doing their best efforts to make it as eco-friendly as possible and you can send them any organic cotton/silk you would like dyeing and they will dye it.
If you are interested the costs are as follows 75,000 IDR (about £4) per meter of dyeing with a minimum of 5kg knit or 10 meters of woven fabric or 12 pieces of pre-made clothes. Their email address is if you'd like any more information and they also offer courses on natural dyeing.