Dyeing Using Philippine Indigenous Plants (Natural Dyeing)

For every mystery solved, another mystery shows up. The study of textiles and how it is made is what started this journey—a journey to uncover how Filipinos made textile in the past and present. Not less than a year ago I wove my first fabric using commercial polyester yarns. After experiencing weaving in May 2015—an extremely laborious, meticulous and meditative task—I entertained the possibility of using natural yarn as a material. This was made possible when one of my design entries became a finalist in the 53rd Japan Fashion Design Contest. In October 2015, in collaboration with the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), I managed to finish my first textile design using the fibers cotton and abaca. And now I am exploring the use of cotton and silk. Before I only got to use black dye for my textile, this time I hope to explore more dyes. Another pandora’s box just opened.

For this month’s adventures and misadventures, I knocked on the door of our local textile institute once again so that I may learn the secrets of Natural Dyeing. They were gracious enough to accommodate my request. Through PTRI we learned how to extract and apply natural dyes on natural fibers.

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I’m a finalist in the 53rd Japan Fashion Design Contest!

(I wrote this entry last July 18, 2015)

It’s been 18 days since I submitted my entry for this year’s Japan Fashion Design Contest. I finally nailed it this year and made it to the list of top 40 finalists who will compete on October 10 in Tokyo, Japan.

Taken from http://www.sugino.ac.jp/gakuen/project/contest/2015/
Image borrowed from the contest’s official website.

Last July 15 I checked updates in the contest website. I was really surprised to see my name in the list (and how the organizers really did give the announcement exactly mid July). I was still in doubt of course, but because I was more excited, I shared the news to everyone I knew on Facebook. It was only this morning that I received an email notification informing me that I will move on to the 2nd round.

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The Last Yard: Designing Weave and Color Mixing

After a few weeks, I finally got the time to go back to PTRI to use the remaining warp I had for my basic weaving session. But instead of doing another shawl, I decided to experiment with it. I manipulated the last 3 inches of warp and re-drew the yarns from the heddles. I note down the new sequence in my notebook. This is an experiment after all and any happy accidents are worth remembering. 🙂 As I reach the end of my warp, here you will see the last yard I wove. You will notice that the pattern changes per section as I change the treadle (or pedal) sequence.

basic_weaving_02
From bottom to top treadle sequence: plain weave, twill weave (2 treadles at a time), twill weave (single treadle), Basket weave for the last 2.

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Designing Weaves: How hard can it be?

Basic Weaving - Weaving
I’ve been working on a project which requires me to use indigenous materials, particularly abaca. The colors are beautiful really, but I can’t feel but a little limited with the options given to me. Whenever we’d ask for a possible alteration of the combinations or a change in choice of yarns, we’ll be told that it will take a long time to make and this for me is just very frustrating. So it hit me. How do you design these materials? How hard could it really be? So this summer, I learned how to weave.  And weaving changed me in so many ways. Five days. Two trainors. A 15.5” x 80″ piece of cloth. And boy, it wasn’t very hard. It wasn’t very simple either. But it DEMANDS a lot of patience. But the result, EXTREME JOY! Here’s a quick synopsis of my work in progress during my 5-day workshop.
First day: Lecture + calculation of yarn requirements + warp preparation 

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