In an innovative move, a private school teacher from Tiruppur city has made it possible to naturally dye handloom silk sarees. The 34-year-old teacher, R Gladys Alex, perfected her skills by trying several methods at her home during the COVID lockdown.
Speaking to TNIE, she said, “I belong to the seventh generation of a weaving family from Kangeyam in the district. My father owned a dyeing unit and was aware of the importance of the process. I am surrounded by weaving and textile experts all the time.
During the lockdown, I was stuck in the house and decided to create something innovative for the weaving industry. My father had suffered from allergic reactions from the dyeing unit due to chemicals and so I decided to create natural dyes for fabrics.”
“I took a variety of components such as pomegranate, Kadukkai and other herbs to extract dyes using utensils in the kitchen. After extraction, I applied it to a variety of fabrics, including silk and cotton. It took me more than six months to grasp the methods of dyeing. I took yarn from a Kancheepuram saree and created natural dyes in a large vessel with water.
Mixing the dyes and yarn in the boiling water was strenuous and I felt the entire process exhausting. It took more than a week to dye each colour and I got seven colours after almost seven weeks. Besides, it took several days to weave a silk saree. I succeeded in the experiment and I was selected as a key innovator in AIC-NIFT TEA Incubation Centre for Textiles and Apparels in Tiruppur,” she added.
AIC-NIFT TEA Incubation Centre for Textiles and Apparels CEO S Periasamy said, “Gladys’s innovation was the need of the hour since we are concentrating on sustainable products with biodegradable components. We encourage such innovations and she will be applying for a patent very soon. We will support her with seed capital and technical support for her future ventures with biodegradable foundations.”