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What if the colour of your jeans grew in your garden?

We explore how to produce and utilise natural dyes derived from plants in a sustainable way. Natural dyes and pigments consist of the coloured molecules and particles synthesised by plants, fungi, or animals employed in textile dyeing for thousands of years. However, some traditional dyeing processes need to be updated. Unlike many synthetic dyes that are chemically very stable, biological processes for controlled degradation of the natural dyes exist, which makes them a recyclable and environmentally friendly option for synthetic dyestuffs. The technology to extract reddish-brownish colourants from willow bark, and blue-violets from woad grown by Pasi Ainasoja in Finland, is being revisited for dyeing of these materials.

Päivi Laaksonen, assistant professor

Kirsi Niinimäki, associate professor

Tia Lohtander, PhD student