'Dive deep into the cauldron and become the forest' - India Flint
Eco printing or eco dyeing is an age-old technique of making marks and patterns on textiles. These natural plant dyes are kind to the environment. Moreover, it is a respectful way of communing with nature and humanity. This practice promotes a zero waste lifestyle, and a do no harm attitude.
In eco printing or dyeing, plants are enclosed in textiles or paper. They are bundled by winding over rods or stacked in layers and then steamed or immersed in hot water to extract the pigments and produce a print made with plant dyes.
We live in a fast age, where we need our food and clothing and everything else immediately. We are the rapid consumers of the modern age. This culture of immediacy and perfectionism has many downfalls:
Food waste is one of our major problems. Consumers do not want the "ugly produce", so it ends up in an oxygen-deprived landfill releasing methane. Methane is a huge contributor to climate change. The shocking reality is that in this age people are still dying of hunger even though we are filling our landfills with good but unwanted food.
Fashion waste is another huge problem, which does not stop there, or let me rather say does not start there. If you look at the textile itself and ask yourself a few questions. Where does it come from? How sustainably was it produced? How many chemicals were used in the production? What kind of dye was used? Was it a toxic synthetic colour pigment? Where is the waste of this being dumped? Who made the garment, and were they fairly and kindly treated? And what happens to the outdated garments? I believe that it is time for us to stop following the trends and have a capsulated wardrobe. With a capsule wardrobe, we have fewer items in our closet that can be interchanged to fulfil all our fashion needs.
Plastic is the worst byproduct of our rapid consumerism. For industries to meet our growing and insatiable need for everything fast they have wrapped just about everything in plastic. This results in mountains of plastic. These waste materials break down into microplastics to fill even beast and man. We all need to take a stand and take responsibility to stop this huge and growing problem. Always choose the non-plastic option if it is available!
Take a step back, consider where your clothing and food comes from, consider the hands, energy, materials and natural resources involved. Consider what you need and what you want, are they the same thing or does the want outweigh the need?
Eco dyeing is going back to our roots and the ways of our ancestors. Using natural and non-toxic dyes, usually derived from food waste but always from nature. Engaging in the meditative nature of slow-stitching on either new or recycled natural textiles to create beautiful and functional pieces that are kind to the environment and all living things.
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