Indonesia has many natural material to offer for textile use. Unfortunately, the use of plant as natural material for textile and batik craftsmanship has not been used optimally. Most of craftsmen prefer to use synthetic dyes that is potentially harmful for the environment. It is interesting to note that many plants has the potential as dyestuffs. The colour produced from natural material has been acknowledged for its unique characteristic and giving a high selling value for fashion use.

Dewi Astari, student of UNY Fashion Education Department, conducted research as part of her final thesis under the guidance of Dr. Widihastuti. The research is set to find potential plant that can be used as new dyes with the right desired colour. “One of the plants in Indonesia that has the potential to be used as natural dyes for textiles is the Pelawan tree (Tristaniopsis merguensis Griff),” Dewi Said.

Pelawan tree is a woody tree under the same family with guava (Myrtaceae). This tree mostly found easily in the forest of Bangka Belitung, especially in humid swamp are in the conservation forest in Namang area, Central Bangka.

“The part that can be used for natural dyes is the outer part of the skin tree. This part will peel off naturally. The textile fabrics that can be applied with it are cotton, silk and satin. Those three are chosen because they are easy to absorb natural dyes. The fixator material used are alum, tunjung and kapur tohor. Those three are classified as environmentally friendly fixator and colour generator,” Dewi said.

From the research, Dwi concluded that the colour result quality from the bark extract dye are great. The colour perfectly applied even after soap washing and heat ironing. It is interesting to note that the dye application on different fabric using different fixator will influence the end result colour. Using alum fixator will set dark salmon pink on cotton, wheat light brown on silk and olive on satin. While using tunjung as fixator will create gray color on cotton, dark brown on silk and gray on satin. Kapur Tohor application as fixator will produces muddy waters brown on cotton, golden sundance on silk and canary yellow on satin. (hryo)

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