Ruatiti ~ Lichen & Blackberry Pouch
Handcrafted whilst camping off grid this summer. Naturally dyed with lichen, rusty objects & blackberries found on location where I was camping in my van at Ruatiti near National Park (North Island New Zealand).
The upcycled wool was slowly simmered in a pot full of foraged botanicals until the stars came out, then carefully handstitched whilst spending time at the river.
This gorgeous wee pouch is perfect for keeping special things safe! Botanical balms, herbal remedies and blends, tobacco, crystals, coins, business cards, craft supplies, whatever it is your carrying around that needs a little extra protection and beauty.
Botanical Printing / Natural dyeing / Ecoprinting is a slow process where fabric is dyed and printed using the natural tannins, color & prints of botanicals (plants, leaves, roots, bark, flowers, lichens etc). Much like our ancestors did for generations, fabric can be colored using nature’s abundance without the use of synthetic, toxic & dangerous chemicals. The colors are truely natural (wild foraged, not out of packets), depicting the colors of my local surroundings & travels around the country.
The very slow process involves essentially ‘cooking’ the fabric in a dye pot (a big herbal brew of plants materials) & printing patterns onto the fabric by way of bundling (wrapping botanicals into the fabric), often creating unique repeating patterns or string marks. Results vary and each piece is unique and unlike any other, with a story of it’s own held within. The plants, fabric, water quality, time of year, cooking time and many other aspects of the process create a boundless number of variables and resulting colors & patterns. Pure plant alchemy.
No chemicals are used, therefore dangerous substances are not leached into our waterways (polluting the planet and destroying our ecosystems) or onto our skin and into our blood stream (disrupting hormones & even causing birth defects). Most natural dyers use so called ‘natural mordants’. Many of these are highly processed & refined, mined substances, sold in little plastic packets. Whilst I understand the use of these (to create color fastness) I also fundamentally disagree with mining & plastic and prefer to use locally available, natural materials. I do not use any mordants, instead relying on the natural mordanting properties of selected botanicals and the correct fabric combinations. I do use rust as a mordant, handmade over months from old rusty nails from my property (often gives a dark/black color). Given the lack of synthetic mordants, each garment will naturally fade with time, washing & exposure to sunlight. This is an incredibly slow & beautiful process to watch unfold, adding to the individuality and uniqueness of each garment. I love to see how prints sometimes become more vivid whilst background colors fade & mute, during this unhindered aging process.