[Update: we have started to put the Aranya shawls and scarves in our online store. Find them here.]
We've just had a large order of shawls and scarves arrive from the Aranya Natural Dye project in Kerala, India. The pieces featured here range in size from 16" x 68" to 30" x 88" and in price from $59.95 to $98.95.
Behind the success of Aranya are a group of physically challenged young adults from the families of tea plantation workers. These young people are educated and rehabilitated at a vocational training centre managed by Tata Tea Ltd. The young artisans have shown exemplary determination in their endeavor to achieve economic self-sufficiency through projects like Aranya.
The entire process is environmentally friendly. Tea waste provides a primary source of tannins, browns and earth-tones. madder root imparts a variety of reds, indigo gives blues, lac, cochineal, marigold and other dyes round out the pallette. The waste water is used for irrigation in the adjacent garden project. Aranya have developed their own patterns through techniques such as batik, blockprinting and shibori. The results speak for themselves. Exquisite shawls and scarves made from silk and cotton masterfully dyed.
Maiwa has worked with Aranya for over nine years. We always look forward to our trips to the lush, verdant tea-lined hills. There is no more peaceful place in all of India. On our visits we assist with consulting for natural dye processes, marketing and production. The Aranya Natural Dye Unit was started in 1994 with the idea of reviving natural dye use, while creating a non-toxic, eco-friendly and azo-free environment. Aranya emphisizes craft practices which reflect a harmonious, sustainable relationship with nature and the local plant reservoir. It is a unique repository of community knowledge and skillful heritage.