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Natural Dyeing on Indo-slamic Paper


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Traditionally, Indo-Islamic paper was naturally dyed in subtle shades to take away the brightness of the white papers so that they were more pleasing to the reader's eye. Light tans, pistachios and tan-pinks were used, but darker, richer colours were also used for calligraphy in gold, silver and wihite inks. The papers I dyed during this research period were from a variety of fibers, each of which took the colours differently. The paper was then sized with egg white or ahar size and then burnished to a shine. The papers made from fermented hemp took to this process with the most ease and yielded the best results. I used Logwood, yellow onion, black tea, and the not so traditional, Cochineal, with weak alum and iron mordants. I've also tried dyeing pulp with some success. Though quite laborious, the results of twice-dyed papers is quite unique in its depth of shade and longevity.

Watch my lecture at FIT on Papermaking in India here.

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