Into the skin

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Master’s Programme in Fashion, Clothing and Textile Design
Inspired by a field trip to a local persimmon dye house in Hsinchu County, Taiwan, this thesis focuses on natural dyeing’s potential to strengthen the sustainable development of, as well as social connectedness in the community. Although a considerable amount of literature has been published on both natural dyeing and sustainable community, very few studies have focused on the very intersection of these two disciplines. The main objective of this study is to inspect various social aspects of natural dyeing by positioning the craft at the junction of studies on community, sustainability, and textile design. The research material consists of literature pertaining to eco-localism and community capitals. Two semi-constructed interviews were carried out with stakeholders of two natural dyeing brands, one is Finnish and the other Taiwanese. A modified Community Capital Framework is established for the examination of the two brands, identifying the changes they made to their community capitals and the following influences on locality caused by these changes. Additionally, this thesis includes a textile design project in collaboration with a Finnish natural dye supplier, Natural Indigo Finland. The project not only produced a collection of natural dyed woven textiles but investigated how the craft of natural dyeing could contribute to the formation of social connectedness between a foreign designer and the local community. The outcome of this research not only includes a textile collection showing the author’s artistic approach to natural dyeing, but reflections on the project discussing the building process of social connection through collaboration with a local sponsor of natural dyes, and interviews and engagement with local artists. This research shows that traditional crafts like natural dyeing have a great potential to strengthen localities, contribute to the environment, and popularize the concept of eco-localism.
Salolainen, Maarit
Thesis advisor
Lauri, Pirita
Leppisaari, Anna-Mari
community development, community capitals, eco-localism, natural dyeing, sustainability, woven textile design
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