If you go searching for “natural dyes” recently what comes up first is using avocado. I get it, they create a nice pink, they are easy to find in the grocery store, and they are a pretty popular food . But here in the Global North, we don’t grow them. We rely on others to bring them into our grocery stores. They are so popular now, you find them everywhere.
so what’s the problem?
The problem comes when we in the west make a food popular that doesn’t grow here, it creates alot of problems for the people who live in the places it does grow. I encourage you to look up the political and environmental impact of avocados. Its heavy. I don’t share this to cause guilt or shame. We don’t know , what we don’t know. But once we know, we can do better as natural dyers. In my opinion avocado is not an ethical or sustainable choice for me living in Southern Ontario.
So, may I present to you, an alternative for that dusty rose pink, for those where the Conifers grow abundantly….
The Case for Rosy Pink From Coniferous Cones instead of Avocados in Natural Dyeing.
(The title need work!!)
This winter in Southern Ontario, has been a relatively mild one. we’ve had quite a few big thaws, which allowed for foraging for dye material well into December. Conifer cones are easy to spot once everything has died back for the winter. Forest floors can be full of them, and they hold together really well under the snow. I decided for ease sake, to not focus on just one type of cone, but to gather a bunch of different cones, as I came across them for this sampling.
Identifying the cones, without remembering the trees I found them under, took quite a bit of searching. Im almost 100% sure, the above are right, but I could be wrong so lets say 99% sure! If you have any great identification tricks up your sleeve Id love to hear them!! I am not a tree identifying wizard. I am learning as I travel the natural dye path. Find tree ID books for your areas, internet search, ask strangers in the forest… Have fun with it. Embrace the absolute confusion of tree identification! ( maybe thats just me)
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