Month: July 2014

Making Dye

DSC_1342 DSC_1349 DSC_1338

Cottage-scale industry makes very concentrated dye baths because they mix their washing right in there so the silk yarn does not absorb as much dye through the solution.  This is cheaper and better for them, but produces darker wastewater which has a larger impact on the environment.  Since I am working at a medium-scale industry we have to reproduce the dye bath.  Here is Babu measuring out the dye, Narasimhamurty cutting the soap, and Narayanaswamy dissolving the soda– all to be mixed together in 50 liters of water– I’ve also tried 100 liters and it seems to work the same.


Filter everything through sand

DSC_1323 DSC_1322


The sand is still leaving some residue, but it’s looking good.  There is currently a lot of sludge that is tainting the sand for future use, so we have started using cotton fabric as a primary filter.  Here you can see the before and after.  It’s not perfect, but much better than before!

So Much Dye!



So I’ve been placed at a medium-sized textile dyer because there is space and no language barrier.  Their wastewater is treated to allowable effluent limits.  Although I have tried my project’s technology on their wastewater, it is not much needed.  Since this is the case, they are helping me replicate the wastewater that cottage-scale textile dyers in rural areas dump.

Cleaning Sand

DSC_0753 DSC_0744


There are 2 types of sand available– the one on the left is River Sand, and the right is Ocean Beach Sand.  I bought the ocean sand at a construction materials market called Bamboo Market (because they use bamboo as scaffolding).  I made 2 sand filters so we decided to keep them separate.

Discussing Project Plans



Swan Silk Limited has agreed to let me take up space for 2 weeks and I am discussing with their Dye Manager, Prakash Mangalagatti, who has a degree in textile dyeing.  He’s an expert and curious about my project.  His director is interested in keeping ground water clean for future generations.  I am so grateful for their assistance!