BOTANICAL DYES FROM THE ANDEAN ECOSYSTEM
By Faye Lessler
We choose to support global communities by contributing to their economic development and sustainable growth through craft. We believe strongly that the cultural value of indigenous traditions such as natural textile dyeing promotes the well being of not only the people who make our clothes, but of all humans and the earth as well.
This is exactly why we partnered with Pichinku, a social enterprise producing all natural yarn which is botanically dyed in small batches by the skilled hands of women artisans in Cusco, Peru. This small natural dye operation was founded by the champion Dana Blair, a woman whose commitment to supporting craft and culture inspires us.
Discover: In conversation with Dana Blair @ Follow the gang here
By working with local women artisans Pichinku ensures that our money goes directly into the hands of indigenous communities, therefore supporting a healthy economy for artisans and craftsmen in Peru.
We view the economic potential of natural dye production as an important piece of the way that we wage a guerilla fight against the over-consumptive world. We hope by doing so we contribute to raise the demand for the production of natural dyes, the plants that they are made from, and artisan work in general.
We love the health and wellness benefits that we receive from dyeing with locally foraged botanical materials such as roots, flowers, leaves, and insects. In some cases addeding medicinal benefits which the wearer’s body can absorb through the skin.
Each yarn and color combination is different, specific to the dye material, time of harvest, and how it is applied.
Our grey dye comes from a combination of eucalyptus leaves and bark mixed with a native pod plant to Peru called tara spinosa. The deep grey color is achieved through a process of boiling the dye materials which smells heavenly.
Our yellow color is derived from a native root called Cheqchi. The root is harvested no more than 2 days before dying, providing a vibrant and strong yellow color.
“What’s most incredible about cheqchi is that it dyes bright yellow, but if left to dry in strong sunlight, will have soft golden-orange streaks throughout the skein.” - Dana Blair
Natural materials and dyes are very important for the health of the human body, providing a breathable layer which will perform well in any weather, and containing none of the foreign chemicals or toxins which are often found throughout the industry