Color is Alive
Limited edition print with a pattern designed for the project Color is Alive, where the artist researched how to adapt natural ink-making for screen printing. Screen printed with handmade plant-based ink on the organic cotton fabric of 3 x 2m.
The natural ink and its hue were created from kitchen waste Avocado stones (Persea Americana). Hand-printed and hand-sewed into a limited edition series of cushion covers.
In 2021 with the project Color is Alive - in collaboration with Grafische Werkplaats Den Haag and Gemeente Den Haag - Greta D. Facchinato researched how to make sustainable and organic ink for screen printing.
Nowadays, the printing industry focuses on synthetic ink as an eternally living compound, meant to provide a variety of colours all year round and last unchanged for as long as possible. On the contrary, bio-based ink is an organic living matter, composed of biological ingredients and influenced by nature’s cycles and habitats. Depending on the characteristics of the plants and organisms involved in pigments, binders, and preservatives, each ink will carry a different life which eventually determines its colour-fast properties.
Greta D. Facchinato’s practice invites us to experience matter from an embodied awareness, through the crossflow of different mediums and the investigation of daily life encounters, gestures, and materials. In this context, she sees the practice of sustainable ink-making as a method to re-learn our knowledge of colour through interconnectedness with our environment. Substituting the application of synthetic ink with bio-based one means creating a bridge between the past and the future, where human and non-human entities are included.
The process starts with sourcing the avocado seeds, which are kitchen waste collected from Greta Facchinato. After consuming an avocado, the seed is washed, cleaned with a towel, and left outside until completely dry. At this point, the seed is placed in the freezer to preserve it from moulding. When enough seeds are collected, they are defrosted and cut into smaller pieces. To extract the colour they are covered with water and left to simmer for at least 30 minutes. To make the dye more colourfast a pH modifier (soda) is added while to turn the dye into an ink, a combination of different binders is added to the solution and mixed until the desired viscosity is reached. Thyme oil helps to naturally preserve the ink. Before screen printing with it, the textile is scoured and mordanted with tannins from a solution of oak galls. This allows the ink to be absorbed by the fibre and prevents it from being washed away when in contact with water.
Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.
Avocado stones (Persea americana), agar agar (Eucheuma), guar gum (cyamopsis tetragonoloba), arabic gum (acacia senegal), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
Research in collaboration with Grafische Werkplaats Den Haag and made possible by Gemeente Den Haag.