From Craft to industry



Emneord (Nøkkelord):

Natural dyes, Cultural heritage, Traditional craft, Contemporary design, Responsible production


In this paper, we discuss the potential of using traditional knowledge of natural dyes for more sustainable development processes in textile design. Our aim is to help foster a green transition through responsible consumption and production. We investigate the potential for implementing natural dye processes from craft to industrial processes to replace synthetic dyes. We adopt a systematic approach to dyeing and printing with food waste, including walnut shells, avocado skins and onion skins, specifically exploring colourfastness. We have observed that craft methods tend to be ‘forgotten’ due to the zeal for industry­alization and the standardizing of products to ensure quality requirements. From students and business partners, we experience requests for natural dyes; however, we are challenged to document colour­fastness. Knowledge and documentation are of high importance when we intend to convince industry to learn from traditional crafts. Through a systematic investigation testing traditional recipes and variations in dyed textiles, we experience how textiles perform. Through iterations based on the results, we continue with further experiments and simultaneously discuss whether both the consumer and the industry have to look at quality requirements from a conventional perspective. We argue that current expectations regarding colours and standards must change. Facing radical changes to the way we live, produce and use products, it is important to critically examine our approach to conventional industrial production. In our research, we built knowledge generation on cultural heritage and traditional craft. We argue how this becomes a societal asset influencing users’ behaviour and creates awareness towards sustainable changes in the design and use of textiles.  


Inger Marie Ladekarl, Via University College

Associate Professor

Malene Harsaae, VIA University College

Associate Professor, Ph.D.

Anne Louise Bang, VIA University College

Senior Associate Professor, Ph.D.

Lena Kramer Pedersen, VIA University College

Associate Professor

Tina Cecilie Bull Nielsen, VIA University College

Assistant Professor

Amalie Ege, Via University College

Scientific Assistant


Archroma. (2023.). EarthColors®, a new method of creating warm shades from nature

Behan, B. (2018). Botanical inks – Plant-to-print dyes, techniques and projects. Quadrille Publishing.

Boutrup, J., & Ellis, C. (2018). The Art and Science of Natural Dyes - Principles, Experiments, and Results. Schiffer Publishing.

Directorate-General for Environment (2022). EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles

Eyand. (2021). Bringing natural color.

Hudd, A. (2022). Dyeing for fashion: Why the clothes industry is causing 20% of water pollution. (2020). Textiles — Tests for colour fastness — Part C06: Colour fastness to domestic and commercial laundering. International Organization for Standardization. (2021). Textiles — Tests for colour fastness — Part X16: Colour fastness to rubbing — Small areas. International Organization for Standardization.

Mouw, T. (2018, March 16). Tolerancing Part 3: Color Space vs. Color Tolerance. X-Rite. (2023).OEKO-TEX® ECO PASSPORT.




Hvordan referere

Ladekarl, I. M., Harsaae, M., Bang, A. L., Kramer Pedersen, L., Bull Nielsen, T. C., & Ege, A. (2023). From Craft to industry. FormAkademisk, 16(4).

Cited by