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How to make clothes dye?

Last summertime we mentioned that I became welcomed to visit Vava’u, Tonga as a guest instructor also to participate in a designers’ book collaboration amongst the BYU Art division and neighborhood Tongan craftspeople. I promised to report straight back. Used to don’t forget… I’m simply a slow-poke.

The idea associated with journey was to submerge US pupils into Tongan tradition by sticking to Tongan people and working side-by-side with Tongan craftspeople and performers (i do believe that perhaps all Tongans tend to be craftspeople and artists–it seemed to me that most Tongans learn how to make tapa fabric) to help make Tapa Cloth, local dyes, and learn a bit about old-fashioned Tongan design. Each participant would after that create an artist’s book making use of the fabric and dyes we had made the prior week. But let’s simply reach the pictures, eh?

Day one started off by sorting ideal (bark? leaves?) for weaving a long snake-skin-like strainer for the bark/ink.


Long thing pieces of mulberry bark (the internal smooth bark, maybe not the external bark) had been soaked immediately, and we had been shown how to overcome the mulberry with hefty wooden mallets. The bark is beaten, then folded, beaten more, then folded again, and so forth. If the bark is sufficiently broad, the whole thing is unfolded therefore the creases hammered out of the tapa. We took a short movie associated with the beating procedure so that you can precisely appreciate what our ears (and arms!) tolerate for two times:

Notice just how skinny Gary’s bark was in the photo above, and just how it’s now been beaten good and wide… it can take some beating to obtain each one to that particular point.

As soon as it is made, it is hung to dry. I made this (I became satisfied with myself to accomplish one, however the Tongan females put us Americans to shame–some of our hosts made at least a dozen each).

Meanwhile, we had been shown just how to clean bark from a koka tree to extract the dye. This tree will recuperate, but I was informed that a koka tree’s bark can simply be used as soon as during the tree’s life (or possibly it absolutely was as soon as every a long period. We don’t remember for certain).

As you care able to see, the koka tree bleeds red.

Development on the weaving of strainer when it comes to dye (sorry we don’t know the Tongan term because of this!).

Blending the bark with liquid to help draw out the dye.

Getting the bark ready for straining.

The weaving is covered around the bark and tied up firmly.

Then it’s hung by the two ends,

a ray is positioned through the cycle, while the dye is strained as ray is twisted with a downward stress. Here’s a video clip taken by my friend for the extraction:

The ink is a reddish-brown if used natural, and it a number of additionally, it is cooked to produce a rich darkish shade.

There you have it, the making of tapa fabric and koka dye. Next we discovered some design, a little bit of bookbinding, and then set out to develop our publications. But I’ll conserve that for another blog post (hopefully soon), because this took sometime to create!

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