After posting my 2-part interview with sustainable designer and artist John Patrick, I received an email from his Dutch friend, Anco Sneep, director of Rubia Pigmenta Naturalia, which produces a natural red dye that dates back to over two millenia:
"A world without colour is barely conceivable for us. Nature provides for colour all around and anything we create, we create in colour. And–we’ve been doing so for thousands of years. Primeval human beings already used colours to outline drawings or illustrations, and all generations thereafter carried on doing so. These colours were made from natural resources. One of the most important materials was–and still is–madder.
The roots of the madder plant produce a genuine red colour. The ancient Egyptians had already discovered the incomparable madder tint: a belt dyed with madder root was found in the tomb of Tutankhamen. But the ancient Greeks and Romans also used this unique colour as a dye, which in the later Byzantium Empire was given the name Turkish Red. Famous artists like El Greco, Velasquez, and Vermeer used madder as a base for particular red tints in their paintings.
In the 18th century, madder–or by its scientific name Rubia Tinctorum –became a popular dye for textiles. Particularly in the southern Netherlands, in West Brabant and Zeeland, the plant was cultivated on a large scale. Madder became an important economic factor in this area.
After the German chemists Graebe and Liebermann discovered in 1868 how the red madder dye could be produced synthetically, cultivation of madder quickly declined and finally vanished.
Rubia® has developed a totally new process to extract the genuine madder dye very efficiently in an ecologically friendly manner. Elements of the system are specially selected madder under license.
The highest priority in the Rubia® research laboratories is continuous process control and optimization aligned with quality enhancement. In addition, the colour agent content of the different root batches is determined to permit fair compensation for the growers.
In the factory, the colour agent is extracted from the roots by means of a special Rubia® process. As market leader, Rubia Pigmenta Naturalia® comes from the only industrial installation worldwide to produce the authentic Turkish Red.
Rubia® red is the ideal dye for companies seeking to differentiate themselves through the use of authentic and brilliant colours, produced entirely on a natural basis. Rubia®–a new dimension in colour!
Highly praised Dutch designer Rianne de Witte has decided to work with natural dyes of Rubia Pigmenta Naturalia®!