Shooting Colors in the Philippines

February 2015 @ MoC

February 4, 2015 @ PhilippineTextileResearchInstitute

We spent few weeks in Manila this winter, immersing in the Filipino culture, shooting colors and hunting words for our ColorCorpus research. It was good fun and we’ll be back to visit the countryside at some point later. Enjoy!

bahaghari

The Philippine Textile Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (PTRI-DOST) has recently released its new publication, Bahaghari: Colors of the Philippines. The 140-page book contains general information on natural dyes and their plant sources and clear, crisp photos of PTRI-developed naturally dyed tropical fabrics in formal ensemble with a twist of elegance worn by participants and delegates to the 8th ASEAN Science and Technology Week (ASTW) in July 2008, Miss Earth 2007 candidates, and some ramp models. Besides the ASTW, the naturally dyed barongs and dresses jazzed up the Bahaghari Fashion Show at the ASTW dinner held at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila and gave zest to the pictorial for the book.

Bahaghari: Colors of the Philippines attaches social connotations with each featured color from natural dyes and illustrates the facets of the Filipino culture. PTRI researchers Julius L. Leaño Jr. and Jenice P. Malabanan co-wrote the book.

BAHAGHARI FESTIVAL @ VisitMyPhilippines

Date : April 25
Venue : Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro
Description:
According to an old story, the early settlers of Pinamalayan came from Marinduque. While on their way to Mindoro using their boats, they encountered turbulent weather and lost their direction. They prayed to God Almighty for deliverance and guidance so the weather cleared and a rainbow appeared on the horizon. The crew shouted ipinamalay meaning “it was made known”. They followed the direction of the rainbow and landed at what is now Barangay Lumangbayan and established the first settlement which they named Pinamalayan. The rainbow became the historical landmark of the town. The yearly Bahaghari Festival is a colorful commemoration of the importance of the rainbow in the history of the town of Pinamalayan. The celebration includes a street dancing competition, cultural presentations, religious and cultural activities, products and trade fair. Like the rainbow which rises to give color in the sky after the torrent of rain, the Bahaghari Festival is a reflection of the continuing effort of the people of Pinalamayan that there is truly paradise at the end of the rainbow.

Contact : Office of the Mayor, Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro
Telephone No. (043) 284-3146 / 443-1486

Bluer than blue: the revival of Philippine indigo @ Fibre2Fashionindigo dyed pina-seda barong

Philippine indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) is one of the oldest dyes in civilization and one of the most widely used natural dyes in the whole world due to its excellent colorfastness properties. In the Philippines, indigo was once extensively used in the weaving industry including the abel of llocos and the Abrenian fabrics.

The Philippine indigo has been part of the Galleon and Chinese trade in northern Philippines, centuries ago; however, the successful production of cheaper synthetic indigo eased it out of the market and caused its rapid decline not only in the Philippines but also all over the world.

In the Philippines, the former First Lady Amelia “Ming” Ramos initiated the effort to revive indigo dyeing. She became the Patroness of natural dyes and spearheaded the Katutubong Kulay Project of the Katutubong Filipino Foundation in the early 1990’s. The transfer and commercialization of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) developed technology on indigo in Abra revived and upgraded the age long tradition of using tayum, the local name of indigo in Abra. In fact, a town in Abra was aptly named Tayum, reportedly because of the abundance of naturally growing indigo in the place. Tayum is where Abra’s Natural Dye Center is located.

Read more at Fibre2Fashion

Ang Alamat ng Bahaghari (The Legend of the Rainbow) @ Behance

bahaghari2

Shooting Colors in Indonesia

January 23, 2015 @ MoC

We spent few weeks in Jakarta this January, shooting colors and hunting Indonesian words for our ColorCorpus. It was an interesting experience. Jakarta in itself is not a colorful place (one of the main reasons might be that it is currently under construction). However, and in contrast to the dull surroundings, Jakarta men and especially women are quite colorful. And for those who insist there are always some hidden treasures here and there. On the other hand, this is the birthplace of batik, so when we visited the Textile museum, we couldn’t miss joining the batik workshop taking place that day, it was mostly rewarding ! We didn’t have time to further explore the country and the countryside and the many islands, maybe in the future.

And oh, there is Batik Air too !

 

Shooting Colors in Malaysia

December 25, 2014 @ MoC

Hi ! We are here in Kuala Lumpur for few weeks (Dec 2014-January 2015), shooting colors and hunting Malay words for our ColorCorpus project. The Textile Museum in Merdeka square is awesome, must visit, the art galleries and the museums are great, must visit as well. KL is pretty colorful and definitely worth exploring; an easy-going and friendly city it is. We had good fun all our days here.

Shooting Colors in Scotland (Summer 2014) ~ MoC

June – October 2014 @ MoC

Τartans, Harris Tweed, Heather fields, Lochs, Dramatic Skies, Emerald Forests, Deers, Stonehouses etc, Scotland’s palette of earthy tones is a balsam to the soul — at least for the summer! For in winter it gets far too cold, bbrrr…

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See more pictures at MoC

September 21, 2014 @ CawdorCastle

We visited few castles too, among which the Cawdor Castle was the loveliest!

“In the Crimson Chamber there is an Crimson velvet bed, with head and foot valances both [gilt-]laced alike, lined with white taffeta, with feathers on the top of the bed, an gilded head in the bed, an feather bed-bolster…”

There is also a pink room and a yellow room. Pictures are not allowed in the castle so we can’t provide any.

September 26, 2014 @ TartansScotland

pics_making_dyeing tartans

For the color lover in Scotland, it’s impossible to ignore the traditional Tartans and their rich heritage …

“In the earliest times, tartans such as the “Falkirk” were produced in only the natural colours of the wool. However, the introduction of coloured dyes allowed much more interesting cloth to be produced.

The dyes were produced from lichen, tree bark, plant roots, or from the leaves and berries of plants and trees. The wool was prepared by first washing the wool and removing the oils, and then soaking the wool in an alkaline solution – usually made by adding soda ash prepared by burning seaweed. The washed wool, either before or perhaps after spinning, was then soaked in the dye. To make the dye the plant material was boiled in water, sometimes taking up to 14 days, during which time the dyestuffs would come out into the water. The dyeing was made permanent by adding a chemical “fixer” called a mordant – a metal salt, frequently Alum, Iron, or Copper. In many cases the dye was not formed unless a mordant was included in the boiling process.

When you see how complicated some recipes are it is quite remarkable that they were discovered. Dyeing is frequently a matter of experimenting and chance. The dye-colour that a particular plant produces can depend on the time of year it was picked, the type of soil grown in and where, as well as the climate of the area. The type of mordant, too, can also dramatically alter the colour of the dye. For instance, heather flower tops produce a yellow dye when Alum is used as a mordant, while Chrome produces a much deeper yellow. And dock leaves picked early in the year (February) produce red dye when Chrome is used as mordant, but produce yellow when Alum is used; and when picked later in the year the leaves produce a golden coloured dye when chrome is used as a mordant, while copper produces a green dye, and iron a darker green dye.”

“Tartans have become synonymous with Scotland and Scottish clans and families in particular. However, tartans were originally a style of cloth intended to be decorative. They had patterns that were popular within certain districts of manufacture, they relied on a limited range of colour dyes and were made of the local coarser type of wool.

This has lead to the idea of district tartans being the original association, between the land, the community and its cloth. Where there was a strong clan within a district, as was often the case in the highlands, then visitors from other areas might well have been recognised as of a clan from their tartan. This must have been true of visitors from the Western Isles, for instance. It is this concept of clan tartans that today predominates, but the use of tartan is yet richer.”

“A tartan pattern emerges out of a single list of coloured threads called a thread count. Reading a tartan requires a little practice and involves finding two unique points within the pattern called the pivots. Tartans consist of broader bands of colour called the under check which are often decorated or embellished with narrower lines of colour called the over check. Once the basic possibilities are understood, one can better appreciate designs that combine and extend the simple ideas. The largest group of tartan uses the three-colour design of Black Watch as its basis.”

Read more about the hundreds different types of tartan at Tartans Scotland (see link above)

October 2014

Another thing the color lover in Scotland can’t miss: the Tweed. Early October we traveled to the Isle of Lewis and Harris (Outer Hebrides). Unfortunately a friend of a friend who happens to be a Harris weaver was not there to show us around at that time but it’s ok (another time maybe); we were lucky to see on our tour to both Lewis and Harris the many sheep grazing freely, see and feel the tweed in many shops, buy a jacket, and purchase the book “From the Land comes the Cloth”, overly happy to have the chance to experience part of this rich Scottish heritage.

Find out more about Harris Tweed exploring their website

Shooting Colors in Japan

April 2014 @ MoC

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At the train station in Shin-Yurigaoka, Tokyo.

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We visited this beautiful exhibition at the Ukiyo-e museum in Omotesando, Tokyo, titled HIROSHIGE BLUE.

Τhe brochure of the Hiroshige exhibition reads:

“Here we will exhibit pictures at the same period as Hiroshige and pictures depicted after his death. Vivid deep blue color came to be used frequently not only in the works of landscape pictures but also pictures of Kabuki actors and pictures of beautiful women.

Masterpieces by Hokusai titled “36 Views of Mt Fuji” had also produced using both indigo and Berlin blue in this period. Moreover, Hiroshige depicted landscapes series titled “Famous Places in the Eastern Capital” in the early days in that same period. We can see that the secret of the birth of masterpieces of landscape pictures was thanks to the existence of Berlin blue.

We can understand the fact that Berlin blue had become firmly established in the field of Ukiyo-e wood-block printing seeing such works.

Research in recent years show that it was during 1830-31 when pre-existing indigo blue changed greatly to Berlin blue (Prussian blue). Ukiyo-e prints using Berlin blue abundantly had been produced by Keisai Eisen and Katsushika Hokusai, etc, a nd gained much popularity. It can be said that the world of ukiyo-e at the time had certainly “Period Blue”.

Though we can see colorful wood-block prints at present day, Ukiyo-e wood-block prints didn’t necessarily have rich color at the beginning of history.

Though Hiroshige had been usually active in the genre of landscape picture, he depicted also many excellent masterpieces of flowers and birds pictures and pictures of beautiful women. Moreover, notable pictures can be found in the works of round fan pictures depicting the themes of manners and customs of common people and scenes from the story and others. Hiroshige’s style using blue color impressively can be seen in any genre of pictures.

Imported Red Color Aniline came to be used often from the late Edo to Meiji periods. The picture using brilliant red color which was new popular color of new age was called “Red Picture”. The sceneries of changing city of the Meiji period is depicted in red picture.”

Shooting Colors in Cambodia

February 23, 2014 @ MoC

February 2014 found us traveling in Cambodia shooting colors and studying the Khmer language for the purpose of our Color Corpus research. Here’s some snaps.

 

Shooting Colors in Japan

November 2013- February 2014 @ MoC

Christmas TV Shows, Daruma market, Dogwear, Silk Cocoons, a Natural Dyes and Silk Weaving studio, Paintings, a Temple entrance, a Delicacy and some Sweets, Hand-gloves coloring process, a Black House, Doormats, an Exhibition poster, Hawaii in Japan, etc
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