Story of Mauve
11.09.2014 § Leave a comment
I have always been fascinated with dyestuffs—what all the natural dyes can do, how the synthetic dye industry got started and how it replaced natural dyes. I found this wonderful story and extracted excerpts below:
During the Easter break in 1856, William Henry Perkin—an 18-year-old chemistry student in his second year at the Royal College of Chemistry in London—was doing experiments at his family home in Shadwell in the East End of London. His professor was Wilhelm Hofmann, a German chemist who was very interested in the chemicals that could be made from coal tar.
His efforts to make quinine, however, only produced a black tar. He then decided to try the same reaction with aniline, another « Read the rest of this entry »
Color Know How
05.12.2012 § Leave a comment
To be able to enjoy life is a great blessing, but to take on a challenge is more rewarding. It is both the painful process of overcoming the difficulty and the thrill of attaining the goal, the mixture of these two extremes that makes life more inspiring and meaningful. I suppose that is why I do what I do. In developing the Brentano line, I am constantly challenging the status quo and searching for new technology, new color sense and new points of view.
Making colors for natural fibers such as cotton, rayon, wool—the process is a sheer pleasure. They each have a noble characteristic when taking dyes. When finalizing the color selections for a pattern with a natural fiber, we are torn between so many good colors that exquisite colors often get left out.
My Interest in Chinese Historical Textiles
21.06.2012 § Leave a comment
About 25 years ago, before I started Brentano, I was studying the vegetable dye color names of ancient China. This interest was first initiated by the incredible color descriptions in a classical Chinese novel depicting the lives of the aristocracy. I wrote a lyrical prose piece about “color names in literature” that was published in a Chinese publication and have been hooked on the subject ever since.
I wrote to a textile historian once who was a professor at the then Hwa Tung Textile Academy in Shanghai. To my surprise, he wrote me back and awarded me with many texts with old Chinese weaving references and some of their vegetable-dyed scarf samples to identify the names of the dyes that I had questioned him about in my letter—such as Su Fong, Madder and Gardenia, etc. Some of those color names were among the early product color names I used when the color inspiration derived from this lineage.
These two scarves are dyed with Shiso Leaf (lavender), Gardenia (yellow), and Su Fang Wood (red). My notes about the dyes are in pencil.
« Read the rest of this entry »
Brentano Color Forecast
02.12.2011 § Leave a comment
Brentano Designer Aaron Mensik has great color sense, so we tend to rely on him as our colorist in the design studio. Usually before he starts to color a pattern, we will talk about how and where the fabric will be used and what kind of color it should have. For instance, if the fabric is to be used in a vertical application, we tend to want colors that are clear and soft. We might not produce any dark colors at all. There are also differences for residential and hospitality, healthcare, etc., fabrics. « Read the rest of this entry »
11.04.2011 § 2 Comments
Many people think that natural dye would be environmentally friendly and that “green” products should use natural dye. Let’s consider some facts about natural dyes.
Natural dyes have poor color power, meaning that a large amount of dye is needed to produce deep shades. Natural dyes have poor color fastness to laundering and sunlight too. Even indigo dye — which has a pretty good output — is not powerful enough to supply today’s demand. « Read the rest of this entry »