SUTRA has organised two international seminars on Natural Dyes.
2010: "RAKSHA: Conservation of Textiles and Textile Traditions"
RAKSHA, meaning 'to protect or save' was primarily about conservation. There were two components: VRIKSHA ( meaning plants, trees, shrubs ) and VASTRA ( meaning garments )
VRIKSHA focused on the conservation, awareness and promotion of natural dyes;
The focal point of VRIKSHA was the rare 19th century natural dyed textile swatches found in the collection of the Botanical Survey of India, ( BSI ) Kolkata. These had been compiled around 1870 by Sir Thomas Wardle, who documented over 3,200 natural dye samples of indigenous dye plants of the Indian sub continent, the only extant documentation of India's vegetable dyes; and John Forbes Watson who compiled the existing textile traditions of natural dyed, woven and patterned textile swatches in several volumes.
The VRIKSHA seminar also discussed natural dyes, dye yielding plants, economic history, traditional and modern techniques of textile conservation. A selection of archival material from the BSI were displayed at the exhibition accompanying the seminar.
RAKSHA was held in February 2010 at ICCR, Kolkata with the support of the Ministry of Culture, The Ministry of Environment & Forests, Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), The Indian Museum, The Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and ICCR amongst others.
2014: February; ICCR, Kolkata:
COLOURS OF NATURE : when MARG magazine decided to publish a special issue dedicated to natural dyes, SUTRA was requested to organise an event to coincide with the launch of the magazine. This resulted in a full fledged event on natural dyes, comprising seminar, exhibitions, workshops, discussion forum, film shows, demonstrations, sales, excursions and children's art competition.