Hands-On with Textile Mordants

DURARE is collaborating with the ERC ALCHEMEAST project in the Utrecht University’s ArtLab on the subject of textile mordants. We tell the story in a visual blog post.

Have you ever wondered why dyes stick to fabrics, rather than disappear when you wash them? The stuff that chemically fixes a color to a textile is called a mordant. The word comes from the Latin verb mordēre, which literally means to bite. Historically these could be various substances: rusty nails or powdered alum, the husks of walnuts, even the roots of rhubarbs. In March, the DURARE team got together with AlchemEast chemist Giacomo Montanari to explore mordants from an interdisciplinary, open-ended point of view. Over the course of three days we transformed the ArtLab into a makeshift dyeing workshop. Talking about what keeps substances together can be a great way to help us think about dyeing in historical, chemical and other terms.

Please click the link above for a visual blog post to get a glimpse into the insights, discussions and little surprises that bubbled up during our sessions in the ArtLab.