A New Color Aesthetic

February 21, 2010

Ingredients List =  This is the native coffeeberry sweater; all the greens were produced from one plant, cooked under a variety of heat and timing conditions within a copper pot.  The collection of yarn is all naturally dyed.  The wool was handspun from Windrush farm’s flock of corriedale cross, shetland, and CVM sheep breeds.

The beauty of using a native species such as coffeeberry for color, is beyond the zero carbon footprint– it is the relationship with the species that changes you forever.  Whether I’m walking on the trails, down the road, or in the car driving through the rural valleys– I can spot coffeeberry where ever I go.  The plant has become an integral part of how I view my surroundings.

With so many amazing colors that we can derive from botanical sources, and with the unending benefits we receive as we become apart of our local ecosystem– I simply wonder why we still bother with toxic synthetic chemicals..

Short Answer: Cost.  Of course.  The other more complex answer to this question is one of human patterning– once a society builds mental relationships with cost, color, and convenience, it is not easy or simple to alter human belief systems about what is and isn’t possible.  This is why I appreciate the message from visionary activist Caroline Casey- Don’t believe anything, just keep entertaining possibilities!

I like the above possibility very much.  A natural dye studio I visited in Bali, surrounded by the Indigo plants used to make the beautiful blue colors.  The synthetic dye studio, with its untreated chemical waste pond, is unfortunately a more common scene within the Southeast Asian textile industry.

If you’d like to support naturally dyed textiles, I highly recommend the work of Tinctoria.

If you are looking for a naturally dyed shoe I cannot recommend enough the work of El Naturalista.