Dipping into nature’s palette – SilverKris

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Growing a community inspired by natural dyeing and travel

Meanwhile, Autumn Brown, a Singaporean graphic designer-turned-chef who now runs a natural dye studio, stumbled on this craft by accident.

It all started with a skin allergy incident in early 2018 that fuelled Brown’s desire to improve her skin condition. Researching fibres, dyes and detergents, she came across naturally dyed textiles as an alternative to mass market clothing.

No stranger to working with culinary ingredients, Brown began her home experiments. She first dabbled in dyeing with beetroot, spinach as well as herbs from traditional Chinese medicinal stores. Brown laughs as she recalls her eagerness at the time. She had not even known how to pre-treat fabrics with mordant – a dye bonding agent – which is a crucial step that ensures colour-fastness. The result was “a pale, disappointing stain,” she recounts.

Unfazed, Brown dove deep to learn the art and science of natural dyeing, even signing up for an intensive week-long workshop with longtime textile studio Threads of Life in Ubud, Bali. It was here where she filled the gaps in her knowledge, gaining a much better understanding of key techniques such as using oxides and iron to control the saturation of colours when dyeing with tannin-rich materials. 

And yes, she also learnt the oil mordant process needed to achieve the deep red she had been obsessed over, with the help of the morinda citrifolia (noni berry) plant.

Eager to share her knowledge, Brown founded With Autumn later in 2018, a boutique textile art and natural dye studio. Here, she runs indigo dyeing and other craft experiences in Singapore’s bustling Chinatown, drawing a mix of creative folks and curious crafters.

“Singaporeans are very well-travelled, and they know of natural dyeing from trips to Japan, Thailand or Laos. They want to do something with their hands, and see such workshops as a form of learning, investment and self-love,” the 37-year-old remarks.  



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