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The Fabric Of India 

This exhibition was an historical overview of textile production and trade in India. The aim was to demonstrate how cloth is central to Indian culture and identity. India has strong connections with colour because it is where the materials used to create natural dyes are found, including chay root bark and lac beetle secretions (red), pomegranate skin and turmeric (yellow), and the indigo plant (blue). The exhibition begins by documenting traditional dye processes, displayed alongside associated artefacts and examples of dyed cloth.

The show had five themes: Nature and Making, Sacred and Splendid, A Global Trade, Textiles in a Changing World, and At the Cutting Edge. Nature and Making was the most pertinent and thought-provoking as it dealt with traditional dye and print 7 and compared raw materials to with the vividly colourful, dyed cloth. Warmer tones such as red can be particularly tricky to print accurately in the digital process whereas the red tones created by chay root bark and lac beetle secretions were incredibly strong and vibrant. I was inspired to make my own natural dyes to dye fabric, to compare with digital prints and colours that are out of gamut for an inkjet printer.

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