Create art from kitchen waste
THE is art in the leftovers of the kitchen. For example, turmeric leaves a bright yellow tint, while the leaves of a carrot plant produce a light greenish-brown tint.
If the opportunity arises, Umi Junid, a proponent of producing art from waste, will make a list of possibilities that an artist can achieve with onions and potato peels, ginger and all the other ingredients for a delicious dish. The fact that these items are also environmentally friendly is a bonus.
Unsurprisingly, it was a tribal community that first showed Umi how Mother Nature can be a palette for artists.
The former graphic design lecturer was sent to Sierra Leone in West Africa eight years ago to guide teachers there.
While visiting a local market, Umi discovered the “gara”, the African version of batik. But instead of
using wax, Africans used plants for dyeing.
Different colors can be obtained from different species of plants, she said. the sun.
In Sierra Leone, the most popular colors are blue derived from the indigo plant and brown produced by kola nuts.
“The patterns are mostly geometric and symmetrical, but I was won over by the beauty of their designs,” she said.
“Each tribe has its own motive.”
Umi realized that the complete dependence on natural resources for artistic activities could also apply to Malay batik.
However, his knowledge of batik printing was limited.
“All I knew at the time was that the patterns in the batik were usually flora and fauna, and wax was used in the production process,” Umi said.
She was also keenly aware that wax was not environmentally friendly.
To better understand how batik printing can be achieved using only natural colors, she traveled to Semarang and Pekalongan, two cities in Central Java, Indonesia.
“I spent two weeks in Semarang with a family learning how they used the indigo plant to make natural dyes, with the rich blue hue,”
The whole process, from growing the indigo to producing the dye, was a family business.
In Pekalongan, the center of Indonesia’s batik industry, she learned to print with natural colors. It would take him another two years to hone his skills, but it paid off.
When she enrolled at Norwich University for her Masters in Textile Design, she started making custom batik coasters with her own designs which she managed to sell for £ 7 (RM 40) each. Apart from that, she also produced shawls and scarves which she sold online.
But the Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything. During the first movement control order in March last year, Umi read an article about how families stored extra food to see each other through the lockdown, only to see some of it ending up in the lockdown. trash can.
“I realized that we end up wasting a lot of ingredients while cooking. Rather than throwing them away, I started scooping up leftovers, like the onion and potato peels, garlic and ginger, and the chicken soup, ”she says.
This quickly launched Umi what she now calls her “kitchen waste dye project”.
“With different techniques, I managed to create a multitude of colors.”
Her kitchen waste dyes are now splashing onto various materials which she promotes on her DuniaMotif website.
Umi’s podcasts have captured the attention of over 1000 subscribers and ezines from Germany to Japan. And she hasn’t finished yet.
A new project – a self-sufficient dye farm – is underway.