Our last FEEDBACK FRIDAY was with Godelieve Keulen, the founder of Hari Baru Paris. Godelieve’s background is as a fashion designer specializing in knitwear but all of her designs are inspired by natural dyes. We found her through Instagram and fell in love with her beautiful zabutons, Japanese sitting cushions traditionally used for sitting on the floor.
“I became interested in natural dyes during my sabbatical leave of 9 months in Kyoto, Japan. My husband was working at the university there. I immersed my self in the local artisanal crafts which one of them was natural dyes. This experience in Japan changed me a lot especially back in Paris working for big fashion brands again and wanting to do something more
sustainable next to my main work, this was about 9 years ago.
Then the Hari Baru project was born. it is not just about natural-dyes but also about the sourcing of the materials, all hand picked and sourced from passionate people specialized in silks. some in holistic ways, some keeping up the long tradition of silk farming in France.
What I try to do is to present these materials in a refined way in an utility object… to treasure like a jewel. I did not want to make clothes and then I saw these traditional shapes in Japan of zabutons which are used as floor cushions in their homes. A perfectly simple object to embellish in multiple ways.
My husband who is a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris is also partly in the project as one of his multiple specializations is the relationship between insects and man, read: silk worms and the silk farmer. we also have home grown ourselves silkworms (the big ones; Attacus atlas), just a few, to understand even better the transforming process and the beauty of nature.
He puts me in relationship with wild silk farmers and collectors from whom I use the silk from in my work. The materials are often produces in small quantities as they respect the insect and the work in a community. This can be in Indonesia, France or Japan. In long-term the idea is to start up a collaboration between the wild silk farmers, dyers, weavers and craftsmen.
Often the natural dying comes naturally together with the silk farmers as it is a close relation ship between nature. I receive the yarns dyed from them or I dye myself on my terrace in Paris.”
If you are not familiar with FEEDBACK FRIDAY, every week we speak with dyers, artists, scientists and scholars about our favorite topic, natural dyeing and color. Curated by Amy DuFault, Botanical Colors’ Sustainability and Social Media Director and presented by Botanical Colors’ Founder Kathy Hattori.
We even have our own theme song thanks to musician Jimmie Snider (click here to hear more of his music)!