I've been to India a number of times and on one of those trips I took a special side-trip from Mumbai to the state of Kerala in what is referred to as God's Country. My destination was to visit the natural dye facility called Aranya Naturals which the Tata Tea company set up in the area due to its wealth of resources; both people and natural dyes. The unit was set up in 1995 and will celebrate its 25th year anniversary in 2020. On recently hearing the news of the anniversary, I was inspired to search through my many photos from 2004 and share with you a few photos from this incredible facility and area of India. Below are a few snapshots I took during my visit.
Inside the unit and the large work area. The unit will have surely grown in capacity since I was there a number of years ago. Impressive though, at that time. I can't imagine what it is like now.
Aranya uses a number of natural dyes; this is just one of the many. These women work together to manage the dye pot.
You can see a close-up of the rack where the fabric or scarves are delicately hooked. Here a woman oversees the process.
Indigo-dyeing (as for all natural dyeing) is a long process and one that cannot be rushed. In particular, when dyeing with indigo, the conditions of the vat must be achieved, such as the proper pH and temperature before beginning the dye process. Careful attention is taken to not allow too much oxygen into the vat.
Only when the fabric is pulled from the vat and comes in contact with the air (the oxidation process) does it turn blue. This is the magic of indigo! Repeated dips make for a deeper, darker shade of blue.
Rinsing area for the fabric.
Centrifuge for taking as much water out of the dyed fabric as possible.
This beautiful indigo-dyed linen scarf is one of the many from the dye unit.
A close-up of the tassels.
Enjoying the work and the day.
Another of the workers - I believe he was recently married then! I look forward to visiting again and seeing all the changes that will have taken place since I was there.