Have you ever wondered how the cotton and silk sarees and dhotis of our grandparents were coloured centuries ago, when there were no artificial or synthetic dyes?
We all have seen beautiful Kalamkari and Madhubani paintings made by traditional artists in the museums. Have you ever wondered from where those mesmerizing and earthly colours came from and how they were made? Who made them?
The nature has the answer for this - NATURAL DYES. Much of which might be still lying unused in our kitchens and the general markets outside. Of which we might not even be aware of but using the very same sources. Natural colours have been extracted for centuries and used for wide variety of activities like dyeing the fabric for clothes that everyone used to wear be it a labour or a king.
Even before your poster, acrylic, water colours were invented, the traditional artists and artisans used these naturally extracted, natural colours for the masterpieces that they made which even passed the test of time and are hung unperished on the walls of big museums today.
Be it a college going girl or a working woman, we all love to have the classic block printed kurtis and dupattas with leheria or bandhani designs in our wadrobe, we all have at least a pair of them no matter how modern and fashionable we are. But how did this love for such antique and mesmerising traditional prints and tie-and dye techniques start, the story is as old as natural dyes it self, the curiosity and experimentation with colours of nature manifested itself into such beautiful prints and designs on fabric,which continues its legacy even now.
Reading all these if you feel that natural dyes are only meant for clothes and art, then you are wrong. There is a lot that you can use natural dyes for. Long before the so called beauty brands came to existence, the ancient egytptians and other civilisations made lipstains and blushes obtained from nature like finely grounded precious stones.
Its a fact that synthetic dyes have lead to the abandonment of natural dyes many decades ago, but that decision has lead to a lot of environmental degradation and crisis.
Therefore it is now the need of the hour to revive this forgotten art of using natural dyes that took thousands of years experimentation and trial and error, to save earth and save ourselves.