TO DYE naturally.....

Wisdom is as enduring as the dyes of India.St Jerome,4th C

Indigo dyed fabric comes out green til oxidized blue under the hot sun.*

The various processes of resist dyeing, tie-dyeing and yarns tie-dyed to a pattern before weaving were the basic techniques of indigenous dyeing of all village cloth throughout the old world. There are three types of Natural Dyes:
Plant-based dyes: Blues and reds were traditionally extracted from the plants indigofera, anil and rubia tintorum (madder-root) and turmeric for one type of yellow, a flower known as flame of the forest for another yellow called "kesula" and pomegranate rinds for green. These were the main sources for traditional Indian dyes. Symbolically the colors have a meaning such that red is the color of love, yellow of spring, indigo of Lord Krishna, and saffron of the yogi (seer).  

Analyses of red fabrics found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb show that they were dyed with madder-root. Till the early 1900s, indigo was commonly made from a family of flowering plants called indigofera. It was cheap and plentiful, and so favored by the working class (....hence the term blue collar worker).
The range of blues possible from the Indigo vat as performed by Japanese visitors at Studio CHAUBUNDI.

Dyes made with minerals, colored clays and earth oxides:  Ochre, made from iron ore, is one of the oldest pigments and has been in use since pre-historic times. Iron shavings and vinegar, or charcoal for blacks. In "Dabu" / mud resist printing, the resist slip is a mixture of river bed clay, slaked lime, tree gum and wheat powder. The resist temporarily covers the fabric where the previous block was printed so that when the entire fabric is dipped into another dye bath (for example Indigo) everything except the resist bits gets colored. More complicated printing processes can be done with dyes mixed into the “dabu” mixture and thereby printing on top of an existing print can happen. The effect of this is a semi- translucent print through which you can see the underlying print.
Dabu/ mud resist printing at Studio CHAUBUNDI

Animal-based dyes: (It will not be necessary to use these in AtelierOM's  collections) The purple robes of royalty, in Ancient Rome were dyed using a substance extracted from a rare crustacean called a Trumpet Shell (Purple Fish) which was found near Tyre on the Mediterranean coast. An estimated 8,500 shellfish were crushed to produce one gram of the dye, which made it so expensive that only kings could afford to use it. Deep red or crimson was produced from a species of scaled insects, cochineal, and was probably first used by the Aztec and the Maya.
Fabrics are laid out to dry in the sun after each layer of dyeing.*
Process of Natural Dyeing: Certain fabrics like silk can be colored simply by being dipped in the dye for a specified period of time. Others, like cotton, need a Mordant. In India known as ’Harda’ it is prepared from the seeds of the Harad (Chebulic Myrobalan) tree. These seeds are also used in ayurvedic medicine extensively. 

A mordant can be simply defined as a substance that aids and hastens the chemical reaction between the dye and the fiber so that the dye is thoroughly absorbed. Often, traditional dye-makers used brass, copper or iron pots to dye yarn in, for these metals are known mordants. Not all dyes need mordants though -- some dyes (like the brown hues from walnut hulls and the yellow from turmeric) do not need mordants, and yet the colour achieved is fast to washing and sunlight. They are called Substantive Dyes.
Praveen Nama pre-dipping fabric in a mordant at Studio CHAUBUNDI.
Over the centuries, Indian craftsmen have used natural dyes on mulmul (muslin), cotton, wool and silk textiles which are known all over the world today. Indian natural dyed fabrics fall into three categories - yarn dyed in natural colors, woven materials block printed with natural dyes and Kalamkari from south India where the "Kalam" or pen is used to draw beautiful designs on the cloth. 

*all images taken in 2011 at Studio CHAUBUNDI, Kaladera, Rajasthan