Sourcing botanical colours in Bali

Bali has a great tradition of using botanical dyes, and for Surrender's upcoming collection we are experimenting with using natural colour on Tencel, modal and organic cotton for some of the styles.

I took a trip out to Tarum Natural Dye, which is the largest natural dye house in Bali. They really know their stuff, as they have been using natural dyes at this location for years, even growing their own plants to use for dyestuffs. Tarum are able to achieve a wide array of colour without the use of chemical dyes.

I have been intrested in botanical dyes ever since I delved head first into them for my final year collection at RMIT University in 2008. At that time my garage was full of various pots and buckets, where I was brewing and experimenting with colour from plant sources rather than chemical sources. By using a botanical dye, an organic fabric remains relatively organic, plus the waste water does not contain chemical residues. It makes sense to me to use natural colour with eco-fabrics, they go hand in hand. Surrender will be introducing natural colour with our next collection due out in November. If it is received well by the Surrender customer, it is something we have a view to be using in the future.

Meanwhile I took a few photos to show the gorgeous colours that can be achieved with botanical dyes, as well as some of the upcycling that Tarum do.


Some garments hanging to dry

Gorgeous chocolate brown yarn drying in the breeze

Yarns hanging show the multitude of colour


Some dyestuffs after the dye has been extracted. This pile can be composted because there are no chemicals used.

Vats of dye being heated. Some dyes need to be heated to allow the colour to be extracted.

Tarum also do some great weaving using recycled fabric. They overdye unwanted fabric and cut it into strips to be woven into new fabric.

Strips about to be upcycled into new fabric.

They also use new fabric to mix with recycled fabric for a different look.

This piece incorporates new and recycled fabrics.

A gorgeous cushion with an intricate weave.

The muted grey side of this blanket was created with a stencil and botanical dye. The bright blue side is upcycled from another blanket.

Finished rolls of fabric, ready to go. Dyed with botanical plant sources, and woven by hand - without the use of electricity! A very traditional method, but the result is very refined.

We are looking forward to working with Tarum, and creating some beautiful colours for Surrender's collection!

1 comment

  • Amanda

    Hello and thank you for your information on Tarum Dye House. I am interested in using Tarum for my next collection and so was wondering how your collection went?
    Thanks for your time and any info you care to share :)

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