This week I had my first proper go at botanical dyeing, and it’s been such fun. One of the things that I’ve noticed about the process is it really is a ‘slow’ craft. You can’t hurry or rush dyeing your own fabric, and the more time you can give to each step of the process the better. It doesn’t take much effort, it’s just a matter of letting the fabric sit at various stages in different pots – the perfect activity to have ticking along in the background.
Natural dyeing is something I’ve wanted to try for a while, and I knew I wanted to start by making a curtain from a piece of muslin for the work room. Back at the beginning of the Summer I bought a copy of Botanical Colour At Your Fingertips by Rebecca Desnos. It’s a brilliant informative e-book available on Etsy here, (you can now also get a paperback version). It’s perfect if you want to dye natural fibres and not use any chemicals, which is exactly what I was after.
When your family is spread around the world it can’t help but alter what being together feels like. Once or maybe twice a year, if we are lucky, do we all get to exist under the same roof for a day or two, and back in July we had a whole week of family time.
Even though July’s vacation seems a long time ago, the memories are lasting, and I still carry the essence of our time together. I hope when Winter comes, and the sun seems far away, I will be able to close my eyes and transport myself back to our Summer in France. If not, I have this to remind me…
Stories from France…
I think a lot of people have misconceptions about slow living. One of the biggest myths, is about stress. If you are pursuing a life where your priority is to slow down, and connect, and fill your day with wholehearted moments, is there any room for rushing around, being busy, and feeling stressed?
I would get it a lot as a yoga teacher, my students would assume I floated about in a little zen bubble all day, not getting angry, or feeling anxious. I understand why they thought that, they only knew me through a certain context. However, stress is unavoidable, and I am naturally quite an anxious person – not to the Woody Allen extreme – but I have to work at keeping any worries in-check, other wise it can be all-consuming.
With my work, just like any other job, I come across situations that cause me stress. I also encounter days where I am really really busy – days when what needs to get done, trumps how much time I have to do it in.
For lots of you reading this ‘slow Fashion’ may be a new concept. Most of the fashion industry is face paced; from the design stage to mass production, garments have a fast turn around so they can be sold at a low cost. This, and trends that come and go with each season encourage buyers to over consume. ‘Slow fashion,’ is a term that was conceived in 2008 by sustainable design consultant Kate Fletcher, she wanted to not just look at how environmentally friendly a single item of clothing is, but she also wanted to address the speed of the whole fashion cycle.
If you follow me over on Instagram you will have already noticed me sharing some big love for the independent label Muny who do ‘slow fashion’ incredibly well. They make beautiful handcrafted clothes for children and women, and also have a range of accessories. Designed in Brooklyn, NY, all the clothes are made from natural fabrics, and are made using wood block printing, handloom weaving, and hand dyeing.
There is something hypnotising about the summer that encourages a slower pace. I have written about it before, that particularly during the warmer months people noticeably have a strong desire to slow down.
Traditionally it’s when people go on holiday, which automatically invites a different rhythm from the rest of the year.
Bound by school terms for a large portion of childhood, maybe it’s ingrained in us from an early age, that the summer is the time to kick back and play. As adults with children, the free summer months still represent later starts and no school runs.
Perhaps also the warmer weather invites a slower lifestyle. Heat can definitely make you feel lethargic, after all the tradition of siestas became commonplace to help people avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day.