In 2010 I used a fabric dyed with CO2 instead of water for the project no H2O. (click here) Now it is not only possible to dye with CO2, but also to remove dye from a fabric, which gives great options in the recycling process of textiles.
A few companies are busy with this new removal technique. For example Dutch company Feyecon. They are a partner in the joint venture company DyeCoo, a company that dyes fabric with CO2. And now they are able to strip colour from dyed polyester textiles with liquid (super-critical) CO2.
Last month I wrote to you about design for recycling and biodegradation. I would like to introduce you to a few of my pinterest boards which might be interesting to follow. With pinterest it is very easy to collect pictures of designs and materials as an inspiration. I collected inspiration about Design for biodegradation, disassembly, flexible material innovations, old textile crafts, clever designs and design methods to name a few.
When you are following my blog for a while you know that design for disassembly is a returning topic in my articles. But are you already doing it yourself? Are you designing products that are easy to assembly and disassemble in order to make recycling or biodegradation possible?
Colouring textiles is a process that is very old. A lot of people like decorated textiles and using colour is one way to do this.
In this article I am going to describe different ways of colouring that can be used as in inspiration to colour textiles and fibres in the future.
Laser etching is one of the techniques that can be an eco-effective solution to decorate textiles. With laser etching you burn a small part of the surface and do not add a material to the fabric like you do when dyeing or silkscreen printing.
Imagine you can dissolve the seams of your textile items! Let’s say your customer spilled tomato juice on the sleeve of the white blouse you designed, with Wear2 you can reuse all the other parts of the blouse to make a new garment. As a designer you can create mix and match garments!
This month I give you a summary of techniques that can be used to make eco-effective designs.
A lot of our textile products are decorated. We choose a specific colour to dye the textile, combine different yarns in a woven material or print a design on a textile. Most of these traditional decoration techniques are not eco-effective because materials from the biological and the technological cycle are fused together. This makes it very difficult to separate the materials for recycling or biodegradation. E.g. silkscreen printing ink, which is non-biodegradable, printed on a biodegradable fabric like organic cotton.
Nowadays we have a lot of different garments in our wardrobe, but what if you would only need a few items and you could make a lot of different garments and bags with those items? This is possible with Furoshiki.
Furoshiki is the Japanese art of folding and knotting.
With Furoshiki you always start with a square cloth. By knotting and folding this fabric in different ways different ‘packages’ are created. Originally this technique was used to take laundry to wash houses in Japan. Later more products where packed in the square cloths to transport them and currently Furoshiki is also accepted as wrapping paper.
I made a bag using the Furoshiki method for Chatoui.
On the pictures you see how you can fold the bag. If you google Furoshiki you will find much more possibilities.
At the moment toxic chemicals are often used to dye textiles. To attach the dye to the (plant- or animal-based) textile many toxic fixating agents are needed. However, there are environmentally friendly ways to dye fabrics. One example of this is dyeing with eucalyptus, which Wieteke Opmeer taught Fioen van Balgooi.
With the silver grey leaf of the eucalyptus plant it is possible to create many different colours and shades. You can create bright orange to light yellow shades, but also brown, green and greyish shades. There are many different types of eucalyptus that all have their own leaf shape. You can also create patterns with the leaves. Because of this you don’t have to use toxic silkscreen ink.
The eucalyptus dye attaches best to animal-based textiles (such as wool and silk). To use plant-based textiles you have to prepare these first. Fixating textile dyed with eucalyptus is not necessary because the plant-dye attaches very well on its own. When washing out the tests almost no dye came off because of this.
To create different colours you can use fresh leaves (bright orange on wool, salmon on organic cotton), old leaves (camel on wool, light camel on organic cotton), fresh leaves with copper elements (red/brown on wool, grey/brown on organic cotton) and fresh leaves with iron elements (brown on wool, but dark grey on organic cotton) Although I personally prefer not to use copper or iron because of the harm it can do to the environment.
The used plant material can be composted after use, the used dye water can safely return to nature because it does not contain any toxic additions, however please pay attention to the PH-value of the water. The water- and material use is also low. When dyeing with eucalyptus there are many factors that may influence the colour outcome such as; the kind of plant, the hardness of the water, the temperature and the time span. So for industrial use this application is not yet suitable.
Currently many patterns are made with silk-screen printing; this leaves a layer of paint behind on the garment, which lowers the value of the material. For instance, when shredding garments, small bits of paint will stay behind on the fibres. It is possible to make patterns with laser cutting.
The paint often contains harmful chemicals. The whole silkscreen printing process costs an enormous amount of water. The design is made by rubbing an emulsion on the screen and lighting this with UV rays. Cleaning the screen in between different colours produces polluted water. With laser cutting you can make all sorts of patterns. You can also work with layers to create different patterns or work with the fact that synthetic fabrics can be melted with a laser. It is recommended to use synthetic fabrics or non-wovens, to prevent the fabric from fraying. Refinity made textiles that are more flexible because of the laser design. Refinity also worked with several layers to create designs from different colours.
I have also made a blog article on laser etching.
If you would like to learn more on laser cutting or engraving, take a look at the e-book " Laser cutters and engravers"