Using Resources Consciously


Every afternoon I take a walk down the street I live in, here in Ubud. I greet the rice farmers and the woman on the corner, selling wood creations. I stop at a restaurant called Pomegranate, which is one of my favorite places, to have a cup of chai and enjoy the view of the green fields, while I contemplate on life. Idyllic right? Well, why I go there everyday is because they kindly save their onion skins and avocado skins and pits for me. The girls laugh friendly at me everytime, because I am the weird onion girl, and no one really knows what happens when I leave with the smelly bag. What happens is that I go home and sort the waste, clean it and leave it in a basket on my balcony to dry. When I have collected enough, and everything is dry, I let the skins simmer for a couple of hours and leave the dye for 24 hours to extract as much color as possible. And then I have my all natural dye, ready to color some fabric.


I love every part of the process, because it is so basic and slow, in a really satisfying way. My friend has the most lovely little hotel in the same street, and they save their beautiful orange marigold flowers for me. Everywhere in Bali, you see marigolds lying around as decoration, and when they dry out and look tired, they make the perfect yellow dye. I give someone elses waste a longer life, and use the last goodness in it. It is a very simple concept, and I can make the dye in my studio, from things I collect from my local neighbourhood. I am not dependent on any new resources, or deliveries to make the dye, which saves the environment and some car fuel. 


It is essential that we think of new ways to use resources more consciously. Having spent a lot of time in Bali, the idea of using waste as a ressource came quite naturally to me, since the island has a serious garbage problem. The infrastructure can't handle the huge tourism boom, and garbage is everywhere, destroying the natural environment. By using food waste, I don't solve that problem, since the waste I use is natural and can go back into nature. It's more about the mindset, and starting to think differently about how we can reuse and recycle. I think collaboration is a big part of this, and we shouldn't be afraid to share ideas and try out new concepts together, across disciplines. Even though my idea seemed a bit silly at first, the people in my neighbourhood showed big interest as the project continued, and the restaurants were happy to contribute. I was happy to try out this concept right here in my local neighbourhood, and felt quite sad yesterday, when I told the girls that I had collected enough waste for now. But this was a tryout on my project, and I have colored enough beautiful silk, to make a tiny, limited edition production of scarfs. This is just the beginning, and I hope you want to follow along my continous experiments on sustainability.