I’ve been exploring plant dyeing lately and it is so much fun. I think I’ve dyed everything cream, white, or off-white in our house. My husband is considering hiding some of his boxers that are white.
It has become a bit of an obsession, I admit.
As an herbalist, I often looked to plants to explore their medicine. Now, I’m fully exploring their potential to pigment. It is opening up a whole new world, allowing me to follow a narrative down another path into our pre-modernized past…a narrative of plant, fiber, dyeing, and weaving. The songs…the stories…the together time…so much is lost to us now.
I can feel the preciousness of this craft and I know I’m only touching the hem of a beautifully, woven traditional dress that fits perfectly onto our primal past…
My recent plant dye explorations has been with a common kitchen scrap, avocados. I use the dried pits to create a rosy, almost crimson, dye bath. Avocado pits (and peels) are rich in tannins, providing a secure bind of pigment to fiber (no mordant is needed, basically).
My recent batch was 2-3 gallons of water + 10 avo pits + light boil for 1 hour + let sit for 4 hours with heat off = dye bath ready.
If you want further inspiration, read this article (ignore the goofy title). Apparently, we can thank giant sloths for avocados’ survival. And, we can thank whoever brought the avocado tree to Santa Barbara, CA many moons ago, as they were the first to bring it north of what is now Mexico.
Considering that Santa Barbara became my new home over a year ago, now…it only made sense to explore its pigment.