In continuation of SEA ME, Nienke’s conceptual carpet made of seaweed yarn, Nienke started a collaboration with Xandra van der Eijk to research other applicabilities for seaweed in the textile industry. Together with Xandra, fellow idealist, researcher and artist, she discovered a way to make a natural textile dye of seaweed.
They went to the Oosterschelde, a Dutch coastal area sheltered by dikes, to collect as many different types of seaweed as possible. They found over twenty species, which led to a wide colour palette with colours ranging from brown, green and golden to lilac and pink.
Seaweed has many great qualities; it grows fast, cleans the water from nitrogen and phosphates and the air from CO2, since it needs CO2 as a nutrient. Xandra and Nienke believe that this material has the future and can also have a huge impact on creating a more sustainable textile industry.
During the Dutch Design Week they showed over 250 colour tests. They tested the dye on wool, cotton, silk and the seaweed yarn. By only using salt (sea) water, they created a process that doesn’t need freshwater and therefore doesn’t conflict with human needs for drinking water.
They will continue their research and collaborate with the industry in order to make this natural seaweed dye available for the whole textile industry.
Photos: I Wait Here | Xandra van der Eijk.