This Harakeke vest has been in my personal collection and I've loved wearing it for the last few years. It's an ultrafine lightweight merino, so I wear it on it's own in summer, and then love to layer it over longsleeves in Autum & Winter.
Printed with harakeke seedpods from my garden, it has really stunning prints. I think the dye colors are from eucalyptus and dock roots.
Created from an upcycled Merino long sleeve which I chopped the sleeves off (they were synthetic). i've neve hemmed the sleeves as I quite like the soft effect, see close up, there's no fraying after 2 years so it should be fine like this.
Size S/M, best 10/12 (loosely) - 14.
Using only natural materials & botanicals, the colors & prints of this unique piece will naturally fade with age, washing & light exposure. Wash gently & dry in the shade.
The garment will take on a life of it’s own as it naturally ages, just like us, adding to it’s own uniqueness and individuality (just like you).
Created from natural fibres, at the end of it’s life this garment can be added to your compost heap to naturally decompose & feed the soil (very unlike synthetic clothing filled with chemicals).
More about the process:
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, clothing can be colored using nature’s abundance without the use of synthetic, toxic & dangerous chemicals. The colors are truely natural (found in my garden or foraged around my neighborhood, not out of packets), depicting the colors of my local surroundings & the ever changing seasons.
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. Nothing like a bit of plant alchemy to spice up your wardrobe with magic.
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.
Each piece takes me at least 3-5 days to complete. From ‘foraging’ for the second hand merino, washing & scouring (preparing the fabric for dyeing, removing toxic chemicals & stains etc), preparing the dyepot (which can take from 2-24hrs), collecting the fallen leaves, bundling the fabric, ‘cooking’ the fabric in the dyebath, curing after dyeing, washing, washing, washing to remove residues, then drying, ironing, sewing in my handmade & handprinted label, photographing, describing, uploading to my website and then of course preparing to send to you (with recycled minimal packaging materials). Wowza, what a slow process.
Every step is intentional & creative, filled with magic, anticipation & suprise.
I hope that you can value this unique & slow process as much as I do, & cherish your garment for years to come.