naturally dyed fabrics

Working with fashion spacewear design and textile artist Anurita Chandola a collection of textiles around the house has been created – from duvets, bedsheets and pillows to towels and washcloths.

A variety of techniques have been used to create colour on our textiles, from using dyes made from turmeric, onion peels and avocado skin to flower pounding – where you simply lay flowers on the fabric and press them to gradually create an imprint. We also tried out tie-dying and bundle dying with teas to create different patterns.

Throughout August adults and children were able to attend free workshops to help us make the patterns and learn about natural dyeing techniques. So the fabrics have been made by many people experimenting together.

We used cotton and silk for our fabrics that we added dyes to. These are 100% natural with no added synthetic materials, meaning that when eventually they wear out the fibres are completely biodegradable and therefore suitable as part of a closed loop system that you would live in on a house on Mars. They could be cut up and used for other textiles around the house, and eventually be composted. You could either take the fabrics with you from Earth, and then personalise them with what you had growing around you once your plants were established, or once you were really established you could perhaps grow your own cotton. We also wondered whether you might be able to keep silk worms to produce your own silk, as a relatively large amount of silk can produced from a small amount of silk worms, and they do not require vast amounts of resources to live.

We also used zero waste cutting techniques – meaning that you don’t cut out your fabrics to an exact size or trim wonky edges. Fabric offcuts are a large source of waste in the fashion industry (and when synthetic fabrics are used, especially those that have plastic in them like polyester, the offcuts will end up in landfill).

The textiles have turned out to be a very beautiful collection. We think they look stunning and would not be out of place in a boutique shop on Earth! It goes to show that you can still have beautiful items around you even in a resource limited place.

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