Making Of: Our Avocado Apron
I first became aware of using avocado seeds to dye fabric back in 2014 when I stumbled upon the work of Rebecca Desnos, a UK based natural dyer who achieves incredible pinks from the humble avocado stone. I bought her book and experimented with her methods which in the UK worked really well.
In the few weeks before opening the AMMA workshop in May 2017, we collected our first bucket of avocado seeds from Cafe Kumbuk in Colombo, avocado on toast being one of their best sellers. Collecting the waste product of such a popular dish was a perfect collaboration. We transported the stones 6 hours to Nuwara Eliya and within days our stock became moldy in the damp humid climate. We also found extracting the colour impossible, only achieving light shades of brown.
16 months on and we just finished translating our avocado dye recipe into Tamil. It has taken lots of troubleshooting, experimenting and who knows it may all change again, but for now we can get pink from locally grown avocado seeds. Hooray!
To celebrate we wanted to show you the making of our avocado apron.
First up is washing and dyeing the beautiful handwoven raw cotton fabric sourced from our weaving partner in the north of Sri Lanka.
The fabric dyeing is overseen by our workshop manager ‘Meena’. Meena started working for AMMA in June 2018, previously she managed a flower farm and worked in the Middle East. At AMMA we believe strongly in providing jobs rurally, so that women don’t have to leave their family and children behind to find work in the city. Relocating to the Middle East for work is very common amongst women living in the rural villages and tea estates. Women often work as domestic help, or like Meena who worked in a supermarket. Although this allows them to send money back home, often they experience horrible working and boarding conditions, denied pay and in the worst situations are physically and sexually abused. Meena is a wonderfully strong manager, who cares deeply about what we do and keeps everyone in check.
The dyeing of the fabric takes a few days before its ready to be hung outside to dry in the intermittent spells of sunshine (it rains a lot in the highlands!). The fabric is then ironed and cut by Priya before being given to Kogila to stitch.
We attach an AMMA label and pass the pocket to Rosey who is queen when it comes to embroidery. She adds a little pink avocado just to bring it back to where it all began.
The AMMA avocado apron will be available to buy from our online shop launching on October 1st & a few new Sri Lankan stockists or send us a message if you would like to place an order or receive a copy of our latest look book.
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