RŪPATalk: The Haūshold Hues
Composed by Adeline Xie / Images of RŪPAHAUS
Who doesn’t love lines?
The classic, goes with everything pattern has definitely been a staple across RŪPAHAUS collections. The warm pastel hues and the bold (or thin) lines on our fabrics wouldn’t have been the same without the native plants used for our natural dyes; and of course the power of the equatorial sun.
While our colours and patterns speak for themselves, sometimes curious minds wonder about how these colours come about and we designed this journal entry to be a mini glossary to satisfy those curiosity.
Given that Indonesia consists of islands with different soil and environmental make ups, most of the plant dyes used on our textiles can only be found locally in the artisans’ surrounding soils imprinting an additional unique signature.
The techniques of Lorek and Batik are rooted in Central Java and therefore the plants used to yield our plant dyes can be found native to both our Lorek weavers and Batik painters. This applies to following plants:
Native Mahogany bark yields a warm salmon pink hues whereas Water Primrose leaves or Heartwood of Jackfruit to yield a range of hues from yellow to green. Another two natives to the Javanese soils are the fruit skin of Beleric Myrolaban to obtain the shades of grey to black and the famous Indigofera Tinctoria leaves that create the majestic shades of blue.
Our Ikat textiles take us to the Far East region of Indonesia; an island with a very different touch, feel and see in contrast with Java. Aside from their famous, deep blue derived from their native Indigofera Tinctoria plant, the island also offers the acclaimed strong red hue derived from Morinda Roots that are specifically native to their soils and the Heartwood of Cockspur Thorn for the colours of yellow to orange.
The plant dyes alone are not strong enough to be retained by our yarns, to make sure the dyes are fixed and don’t bleed, we use different plant-derived mordants such as Alum, Salt Crystals, Copperas and Natural Tannins in our fixation process subject to the colours we want to achieve.
Now that the plants are listed, aren’t you curious as to how we turn this exciting combination of plant dyes and fixing agents, our yarns and the traditional techniques into our garments? Stay tuned for another journal entry dedicated to our techniques.