Kateson | How We Do It |

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How we Do it

We begin with 100% organic cotton. No chemical additives or chemical finishes are used to prepare the fibres for spinning.

The organic cotton yarn/fabric is coated with a mixture of natural gum mordants such as the bark of Lodhra (Symplocos Racemosa), Kenduka (Diospyrose Ebenum) & fruit extracts of Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula). The natural gum mordant acts as a medium for absorbing and fixing the botanical preparation to the yarn.

Herb and Plant Botanical Dyes
Herbs/plants/flowers/roots and barks are carefully selected by Ayurvedic doctors, for their beneficial impact on the body’s own immune and natural healing systems, and blended into a concoction known as Kashaya. Each color produced (yellow in our Turmeric clothes), is due to the Kashaya containing one dominant plant/herb. The herbs are wildcrafted or organically grown locally and some regionally. The temperatures of the dyes, duration and number of dye soaks, blend of herbs and equipment used are carefully controlled. The hand-dyed fabric is allowed to cool, then washed to remove loose particles and dried in the shade.

Pure water is sprinkled on the cloth and stretched using hand rolls and aloe vera. The dyed fabrics are allowed to season for 2 weeks before they are ready for knitting and tailoring.

Effluent treatment
The dye process is close looped - the dye water waste is used to nourish the land and the Kashaya waste is a natural fertilizer for the surrounding plants.

  • The artisans start with seasoned Hale wood that is used directly with no chemical treatment.
  • The wood piece, cut to the appropriate length, is fitted on the lathe
  • Using a chisel, it is turned into a cylinder of the required diameter
  • Various hand tools are used to turn the wood to get the required shape and size
  • Once the desired shape is achieved, the wood is sanded to a smooth finish on the lathe.
  • Non-toxic, natural seed Lac is heated on charcoal fire.
  • As it starts melting, it is mixed using two sticks.
  • Once it melts, natural dye is added and mixed thoroughly
  • It is then kneaded and made into long rods and cut into small lax sticks before they harden. The lac sticks are then used to color and coat the wood.
  • Lac application (coloring and finishing) is a friction based process. This process is completely free of volatile contents and associated respiratory hazards.
  • Any wood waste generated (wood chips, wood dust etc.) is used as raw material for the incense stick / joss stick industry.
  • Holy Lama is an all women enterprise that generates employment to disadvantaged women. The women are picked up from their neighboring villages by bus and provided a safe, clean working environment.
  • Holy Lama supports the mission of Kudumbrashree - a women oriented, community based, state poverty eradication mission of the government of Kerala.
  • Ingredients are sourced from local neighborhoods and brought to the Holy Lama laboratories, where the oils are extracted in a chemical free process
  • The oils are mixed and cooled into a large block of soap
  • Small blocks are cut out and stamped into round bars.
  • Each soap is packed in a handmade shell made from the leaf of the areca palm tree.