The dying processes used at Tintsaba enables us to produce a wide range of colours in varying tones. Only the lighter coloured fibers are used as they take the dye well. These fibers are then subjected to different levels of colour saturation in order to achieve the various tones.
Where possible we use a range of natural dyes such as tea, to create some of the more earthy colours in our range. This natural method takes longer, but we believe they result in beautiful rich tones.
Our colour dyes come from various sources.
DYEING TO EXHAUSTION:
ONE – Preparing the sisal
The raw sisal is gathered near our stainless steel dye vats to be separated and prepared. A fire is made underneath the vat using locally sourced firewood, which is an exotic acacia, another invasive weed found in eSwatini.
TWO – Preparing the dye
The vats are then filled with clean water which is slowly heated. The various dye powders are then mixed to create the desired colours. All Tintsaba colours are mixed by hand and we endeavor to achieve a colour range which is as consistent as possible. Due to the artisanal nature of our dying process there may be slight colour variations.
THREE – Dyeing
When the water, dye and sisal are ready, the dye powder is mixed with a little boiling water and poured into the vat. A few strands of sisal are then added to the vat in order to perform a colour test. When the correct colour is achieved the full bundles of sisal are added to the vat. Two people then work the sisal into the dye to ensure that the entire batch of sisal is evenly coloured. The vat is then covered and left to brew for up to 45 minutes, depending on which colour is being used.
FOUR – Blanching the sisal
A bathtub next to the vats is then filled with cool, clean water. When the sisal is the desired colour, it is pulled from the boiling water and put into the tub in order to blanch and seal the colour into the fibers. The tub is then drained and the sisal is rinsed again.
FIVE – Drying
When the sisal has been sufficiently rinsed, it is drained and hung up under an awnings to dry. This is necessary as the fibers could bleach under direct sun. The sisal will stay drying for a minimum of 5 days. After that, it is stored and is ready to be used for weaving.
• Uses no chemicals to harvest, only a little water
• eSwatini views the plant as an invasive weed which damages the natural ecology of the land
• Abundant supply, which can be found in local communities, so women can earn an income from home