Three years ago, Dining for Women generously granted a $60,000 Sustaining Grant for a project with our artisans in India called Designing Colorful Change. This project would introduce new proficiencies and careers in natural dyeing to 35 new women in Ajmer, India over the course of 3 years, allowing Anchal to integrate more women into our program while re-establishing lost traditions of natural dyeing techniques in the region.
You may recall at the end of last year we were able to send 15 of our artisans to a natural dye training in a city called Bagru. The response to this training was so positive and the women couldn't wait to take their newly learned skills back to the office to share with the other artisans.
We took the Designing Colorful Change project a step further during our most recent trip to India. During our last day of workshops, we worked with a group of artisans to experiment with shibori techniques to naturally dye bandanas with a fruit dye called Harda.
To start, we printed out a few inspiration boards for the women to study different designs that they could make with the fabric and shibori techniques.
The artisans then used different materials around the office like change and thread, to bind the fabric together in hopes the designs they wanted would appear after the hand-dyeing process.
We then added the harda powder to a dye bath and hand-dyed the pieces of fabric.
Once the fabric had been saturated, the artisans were excited to unbind the fabric to see where the fabric took color and where the white would appear revealing a beautiful design.
We hung the final pieces to dry on a clothes line, showing off the beautiful artwork of the artisans.
After the success of the dye workshop along with the enthusiasm of the women to want to practice this technique more, we decided to introduce our first-ever naturally dyed in India product. This Fall, we launched the naturally dyed bandana in harda gray. Each piece has a one-of-a-kind pattern thanks to the hand-dye process.
Your purchase of this unique accessory has an immediate impact and will allow us to continue this important training with our artisans.