We work with traditional artisans in several Asian countries. Each of our products is handcrafted following the authentic weave or print techniques. We will shortly explain each technique here. On our video page you can find some short movies showing these techniques.

When you visit our online shop, you can find the technique used for the specific product in the product description.

The main material is based on unbleached and unprocessed cotton. The raw cotton is manually spun, which results in irregularity in the yarns. These little nubs in the weaving yarns give the product a natural and rugged look. When the scarves are more worn, the cotton fibre will get more flexible and gain even more softness.

HANDLOOM TECHNIQUE

HANDLOOM

Textile manufacturing is one of the oldest human activities. Our artisans have a long tradition of weaving textiles and customise them into clothes. The techniques have been passed from generation to generation and from mothers to daughters. Each community has its own special weave technique.

The raw cotton used for the weaving yarns is cultivated in their own communities or purchased at the local market when the cotton is in short supply. There are two types of yarns: hand spun and machine spun. The machine spun yarns are evenly twisted and have a soft hand feel. The hand spun yarns are twisted by hand which results in irregularity in thickness. These yarns have a harsh hand feel, but they gain softness after general wear.

The wooden hand looms are built by the local craftsmen. The construction is simple in comparison to the industrialised hand loom. Handlooms with two treadles are used to create plain weaves, whilst four or more treadles are needed to create special textures.

OPEN WEAVE

The open weave is a plain weave with an open texture that is created on the two treadle hand loom. The weaving yarns must be thickened with rice powder before weaving to gain extra volume. After the textile is woven, the rice powder gets removed by soaking the textile in water. The yarns regain the original thickness and gaps appear between the yarns that create the open weave. The open weave can be worn throughout the seasons. During the chilly spring evenings, the airy texture gives a comfortable warmness whilst the air between the gaps create extra warmth for the cold months.

IKAT WEAVE

The Ikat technique is a resist dyeing process applied on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. It starts by binding the designed pattern on the weaving yarns with tight wrapping. After repeatedly dipped the bound yarns in natural indigo to reach the dark blue colour, the bindings are then removed to create the pattern directly on the handloom. This weft Ikat technique is a slow and labour-intensive method, the weft yarns must be carefully lined up on the loom so that the pattern appears perfectly in the finished cloth. A misplaced yarn will destroy the entire pattern. The characteristic of Ikat weave is the apparent blurry edges of the pattern, the pattern is visible on both sides of the fabric. To see this technique, please click here for a video.

BATIK PRINT

Batik is a wax-resist dyeing process applied to the finished textile. Batik is either created by hand drawing with the resist wax using a sprouted tool called ‘canting’, or by printing the melted wax with a handmade copper stamp. The wax blocks the dyestuff to penetrate into the textile. Then the cloth is dipped piece by piece multiple times in natural indigo by hand to achieve the deep indigo colour. To remove the printed wax, the cloth is boiled in hot water. Once the wax is removed the printed areas regain their raw colour and the artwork appears on the textile. To see how Batik printing works, please click here for a video.

INDIGO DYE

As one of the oldest dyes, indigo has a rich history of dyeing textiles and printing among many countries and their tribes all over the world. This characteristic blue colour is a plant-based dye that comes from the Indigofera Tintoria. In Southeast Asia, indigo was already highly valued due to its ability to dye natural fibres with this deep blue colour for centuries.

Obtaining the dyestuff from the Indigofera Tinctoria requires a fermentation process. To extract the pigment from the Indigofera, the fresh harvested plants must be soaked in water for 48 hours. Then limestone powder is added into the fluid and further fermentation will take other seven days to produce the indigo paste which is the main component for indigo dye. Recipes for creating a dye vat vary per region and tribe. Each dye master keeps the recipe secret and passes it to the next generation.

After the dyestuff is ready to be used, the weaving yarns are dipped into the vat for dyeing. When the yarns are removed from the dyebath, the first colour that appears is green. Slowly, the colour turns into blue by oxidation. To produce the unique blue indigo colour, it takes 15-20 times of dipping and oxidation to develop the right shade of blue. Although indigo produces a deep shade of blue, it has the property to only penetrate the colour into the material partly. This ability, creates a fade after wearing that is valued by many people.

To see how Indigo dyeing works, please watch our video here.