Sunday, April 22, 2012

In Honor of Earth Day

While trying to educate my sister about block printing with chemical dyes vs. natural dyes, she suggested I write a post about it on the blog for Earth Day.

Well, the main question is which is better, natural dyes or chemical dyes? The argument that I heard in college while I was fighting to use only natural dyes was that natural dyes use a lot of water, chemical dyes don't. So, how can I say that natural dyes is better?

Yes, chemical dyes use little water when you are dyeing a piece of fabric but how do we know how much water goes into processing those chemical powders? I can only imagine how much water and energy that goes into making the chemical dyes. And then consider the amount of pollution all those textile factories create using these textile dyes. Did I just say all negative things against chemical dyes?

Now the Pros and cons of natural dyes.
Con - uses lots of water while being dyed. Needs assistance of hard metals which leak into water.
Pro - The water can be reused in multiple dye baths. They can be filtered and redistributed back into growing plants and vegetation. Natural dyes come from natural plant and food materials. There is no by-product. Hard metals that leak into the water are naturally found in nature. Not harmful to artisans who work with them. No harm to customers who purchase the product.

Chemical dyes do give us a wide range of colors and responsible use of it can give us feel good products. A great example of responsible use of chemical dyes is by Bodhi of India. Mala Sinha, the owner of Bodhi, has a great block printing facility. They've set up a system of proper dosage of chemical dyes, proper disposal of the by-product,and minimal use of natural resources as possible. They even harvest rain water on  location. I love her products and they make you feel good when you buy it too!

 Anyways enjoy this Earth Day. Lots of activities happening around the world. Any other opinions? 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Natural Dyes!

When I was studying for my masters it was so difficult to come across up to date articles on natural dyes. But since I've been back in the states working, in almost 2 years so many organizations and talk about natural dyes has sprung up around me. Check out this article in the New York Times about natural dyers around the USA.

Also, the Textile Art Center in Brooklyn has classes on growing natural dyes in a space in brooklyn as well as classes on dyeing your clothing with them.
As for my natural dyeing ambition? It's..coming along. Ha, not really. I've been collecting onion skins and am looking for places to buy organic cotton fabric. Hopefully I can take out time and go visit the fabric stores in NYC so I can get the ball rolling.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Green Knit by Vedika Aggarwal

Green Knit, created by Vedika Aggarwal of Gaziabad India, features hand made products utilizing waste material. Vedika works with waste production material to embellish home furnishing and accessory products. She has come a long way from her days in London as a Master student knitting for days to make products for her MA exhibition. Vedika now works with a creative team of women whom she has trained to knit and create products for sale in the current market. Visit her Facebook page to see her products. She sells at craft fairs all throughout India and online at ItsHandmade. Have fun shopping!
Always necessary - Tea

Vedika Aggarwal

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kerala, India. God's Own country. Someone said it's because of all the churches, mosques, and temples within blocks of each other. As you'll see in the pictures, that's quite true. I can't wait to go back. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Beautiful Kantha embroidery scarves from Calcutta for sale in the etsy shop. Made by women artisans who decorate these silk fabrics with geometric patterns, giving it a very fashionable look. I fell in love with them at first site. :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

 Following up from a previous blog about the kantha embroidery from Bangladesh, see the video below showcasing a trailer of movie based on her story.

Simply beautiful. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Silk Curtain are up for sale in the Etsy shop! 

They blocks are inspired by the skyline and adornments on buildings in the city of London. The patterns are twisted and twirled around on the fabric to give the design a contemporary edge. 

I can't wait to go back and design more products using silk. It was exciting and surprising to see the results of the natural dyes on silk fabric. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We'd like to see you again.

Tis the time for a jolly jolly day.

Christmas is almost here and what better way to prepare yourself for the joyous holidays by stopping by at The Creek and the Cave to check out the food and say hello to the local vendors.
It'll be the 2nd time for Ich-cha to be part of the Queens Green Drinks event at the Crafted at the Creek, where talented artisans come together to showcase their handmade and local products. Visit the Queen's Green Drink page to see who else is going to be selling what.
We hope you can stop by at our table to see what we have to offer and to say hello.

See you next weekend!