What are Natural Dyes?

What are natural dyes?

This opening is just a preamble about this world of color alchemy because behind each garment, there are many histories and situations that bring it life to reach you. It is a ritual, magic and constant surprise, more than a job, it is an art; a life perspective under continuous construction and movement…

Natural dyes are organic colorings extracted from plants, insects and minerals. The majority of them are of vegetable origin, which are obtained from leaves, roots, berries, flowers and barks; although, many animals have been exploited such as octopuses or woodlouse to get intense red colors. Likewise, clays are well-known to be used from cavern times for cave paintings. However, it is important to mention that this type of dyes is only compatible with natural fibers like linen, cotton, wool, silk, hemp, among others.

In contrast to synthetic dyes, natural extracts are not harmful to health as they are not compound by petroleum by-products, and a wide hue range can be obtained from light to solid colors. Besides, they are ecological and easy to decompose by composting the remaining vegetable material of the extraction process.

In addition, many factors play a role in color exclusivity and variation. It is impossible to obtain the same color more than once: weather, location, season, recollection, process, among other variables, influence its extraction. That way, each dye has a unique and unrepeatable sign.  

Since old times, it is well-known the medicinal use of plants directly on the skin by healing poultice on ailments or diseases, when any current pharmaceutical progress was out of reach. Even now, many people continue relying on homemade and natural remedies by taking advantage of their wide, spiritual and healing properties, as rituals or as a way to reconnect with nature.

In essence, dyeing naturally a garment is not a one-day process. In order to obtain good results, slow procedures have to take place depending on the type of dyeing. In broad terms: the fabric has to be well washed, boiled off and prepared to receive color; by asking respectfully for mother earth’s permission, a plant that will provide its tinctorial properties (we only use plant elements, not animal origin) is chosen. Its color is extracted by heat in an aqueous environment where the fabric is submerged to absorb it. This process can take days or weeks, so there is no room for hurries.

You just have to be sure that when acquiring  a garment with organic dyeings, you will have a unique, vibrant article full of emotions and healing properties. Each one is different, a ritual that never ends, that does not stop changing as the nature it is made of…

Thanks for reading us and for coming this far. Let us know what you think below.

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