Fulbright-Nehru textiles lecturer's exhibit Nov. 11-15 at Rotunda Gallery

Released on 10/31/2013, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, through Nov. 15, 2013

WHERE: Rotunda Gallery, 200 Nebraska Union, 14th and R Streets

Lincoln, Neb., October 31st, 2013 —
"Dochu, the Earth Pillars," indigo dyed on cotton, by Padmini Tolat Balaram

            Padmini Tolat Balaram, a Fulbright-Nehru lecturer in textiles at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will present an exhibition, "Eco-friendly Textile Paintings and Wall Hangings: Innovative Natural Dyed Textiles," at the Nebraska Union, 14th and R streets, Nov. 11-15.

            This exhibition is based on the intense research on natural dyes and resist techniques, which Padmini learned from the master craftspeople in India and Japan, as well as some of her own experimental methods and innovations. The exhibit is free and open to the public and will be on display in the Rotunda Gallery from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 11-14 and 9 a.m. to noon on Nov. 15. In addition, a public celebration and reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 11 in the gallery.

            Padmini's effort is to promote eco-friendly sustainable dyes and fibers, which do not spread any toxicity to the people who use the textiles as well to the workers who manufacture those textiles. The textiles are ideal for decorating residences and office spaces.

            The textiles in the exhibition were dyed using natural dyes such as indigo from India and Japan, madder, plus catechu, lac and pomegranate rind. They are mainly dyed on natural fibers such as rough to finest hand-woven cottons and silks. Painting and several resist techniques are used for creating designs using natural indigo and other natural dyes.

            Balaram is a textile designer, researcher and artist who has worked extensively on eco-friendly, sustainable materials such as natural dyes and natural fibers of India, Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand and Uzbekistan. Her works are in the collection of Air India, Consulate of Japan-Mumbai, Eicher Gallery, and with art collectors such as Mallika Sarabhai, Prafull and Shilpa Shah. She has worked with architects and interior designers such as Kena Patel, Varsha Desai and Crafts-Bridge, and created wall hangings on order to suit the needs of houses and offices. A collection of her natural dyed paintings is used to decorate three bays in the office of the Tata Interactive Systems Ltd. in Mumbai. She has also worked with fashion designers on fashion shows creating special textiles to suit the varieties of garments.

            Her research manuscripts on natural dyes include "Indigo and Its use in India"; "Natural Dyes of Northeast India and Their Use among 16 Indian Tribes"; "Indigo and Its use in Japan: A Comparative Study with India"; "Indigo among the 16 Chinese Minorities"; and "Indigo and Other Natural Dyes in South Korea, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Thailand."

            Her publications include books titled "Bastar Textiles: Designs, Motifs and Natural Dyes" and "Cotton."

            Apart from documenting to preserve the traditions of dyeing and designing using indigo and other natural dyes, she has also studied the use of motifs and their symbolism in Indian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean cultures. She has also designed collections using indigo and other natural dyes as well as created innovative textiles using them, some of which will be exhibited Nov. 11-15. She has exhibited her creative natural dyed textiles in India, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Laos.

            Padmini is a professor of design at Silpa-Sadana, Sriniketan, Visva-Bharati University, in West Bengal, India. She is at UNL as a Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Lecturer to teach color and natural dyes of India and their use in surface design in the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences.