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A Recipe for Crafting Color: The Revival of Natural Dyeing in South India

The craft scholar, engineer, and activist Annapurna Mamidipudi describes the impact that the smallest changes in the application of recipes for dyeing practices have on the resulting color. Her hands-on research reveals how embodied knowledge practices as a form of non-text-based experience—of tinkering and chance—contribute to the refinement of both artisanal techniques and knowledge itself, offering a craft notion of knowledge whereby theory is never detached from its materiality.

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Annapurna Mamidipudi

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

Annapurna Mamidipudi recently completed her doctoral thesis and postdoctoral work at Maastricht University and is currently a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. She was trained as an engineer before she established and worked for over fifteen years at an NGO that supported vulnerable craft livelihoods. Her research interests include traditional craft in the contemporary world, particularly handloom weaving as embodied knowledge, and the politics of sustainable development. She participated in the Global Social Business Incubator program of Santa Clara University (2009) and was a visiting fellow at the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium (2016).