How are you eco friendly?
Any thing we produce uses up precious resources and sometimes creates nasties for the environment. Here are some of the things I do to minimise the impact of my work on the planet.
Buy local wherever possible.
Reuse, reduce and recycle every component in the eco dyeing process.
Buy equipment from second hand shops, like cooking pots and spoons.
Source dye stuffs sustainably from windfall, prunings, food waste and weeds and NEVER from endangered plants.
Use biodegradable packaging.
Stay away from nasty chemicals.
Conserve water and power usage by working smartly.
Never use single use plastic (it's evil).
Plant trees, and flowers for the bees.
Support other slow fashion initiatives.
Stick to local markets, minimising travel.
What is ecoprinting?
Ecoprinting, or botanical printing was coined by textile artist India Flint. Look her up, her eco principles are solid and her work is inspiring.
The art of ecoprinting basically involves making good contact between plants and fabric, applying heat over time to extract the natural tannins and pigments infusing themn permanently into the fibres. So the images you see on the fabric are a direct result of contact from leaves, flowers or seeds. The results vary with a degree of unpredictability depending on season, pH, water temperature, soil quality, water quality and combinations of different dye sources. Which is why every piece is unique.
Why do you use preloved clothing to dye?
Fast fashion is having a bigger impact on the planet and on the labour workforce than you can imagine. In New Zealand alone we throw away 100 million kilos of clothing into the landfill each year. Upcycling supports a circular economy to keep things in the system longer and out of the rubbish. It's not ideal of course. Many people buy poorly made cheap synthetic clothes and then chuck them out to the op shop after a few wears because they think someone else will use them. Better not to buy it in the first place. However, until humankind cottons on to this, we do what we can to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Do you teach workshops?
Yes. I teach various natural dyeing classes from my home studio in Kaiwaka throughout the year to promote awareness of sustainable slow clothing, plus there are a few free online lessons to be found on the Workshop page of this site. If you'd like a workshop arranged for your group (adults or kids), or private tuition please call me to discuss.
Are the natural colours permanent?
I get asked this a lot. The answer is yes, but it does depend on a number of variables - the type of plant dye used, the type of fabric and if it's been prepared adequately to bond with the dyes, how often the garment is washed etc. At Nuku, the most colour fast of plants are selected and the fabric is mordanted carefully when needed, which means it the dye is 'fixed' into the fibres. Caring for your garment is important too, instructions for washing are given in the website shop listings. Sometimes colours may develop over time or they may become lighter, and this is to be embraced as a positive aspect of working with nature. Plant dyes are living dyes and like all living things are part of the cycle of life and inevitably will age and change.