Kitchen Scrap Color, Plant Dye Explorations

avocado dye bath

Avocados strained out of the dye bath and poured onto some garments

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.

aug 3 dyed everything in avocado dye bath

I definitely got carried away.  Here are the items I dyed with avocado pits.  It was all done with the same dye bath.  Notice the variety of shades of rosiness that emerged from the same dye bath!  Most items were cotton or cotton blend.

avocado moms newborn dress

My mother’s old cotton, newborn dress. So precious…..

avo pits veggie bag

A cloth fruit/veg bag.

One thought on “Kitchen Scrap Color, Plant Dye Explorations

  1. Pingback: Brand Names and Small Crafters for Clean Threads | Madhupa Maypop

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