Are avocados just for brunch? A Galway design duo are dyeing to reveal all

The Tweed Project has been experimenting with avocados and gorse to colour pieces

Avocado swirl on toast: Could dyeing linens go some way towards easing the guilt of conscientious avocado advocates?

Avocado swirl on toast: Could dyeing linens go some way towards easing the guilt of conscientious avocado advocates?

 

Did you know that avocados are a key ingredient for natural plant-based dyeing? It turns out their stones and skins can dye natural fabrics a beautiful dusky pink. Rebecca Desnos is a natural dyer, an all-round plant lover, and author of Botanical Colour at your Fingertips.

On her website, she offers advice on avocado dyeing and how to extract pinker pinks from the stones and skins. Accessing the dye is as simple as washing the skins and stones to remove any leftover green flesh before boiling them gently to release their natural colour.

Galway design duo Triona Lillis and Aoibheann McNamara of The Tweed Project have been experimenting with avocados and gorse when dyeing some of their pieces. McNamara’s other business is Ard Bia, the restaurant at the Spanish Arch in Galway city that regularly sees queues out the door for their brunch service. Ard Bia tend to favour ingredients that are from closer to home – Colleran’s streaky bacon, Burren Smokehouse salmon and Hegarty cheddar – but when there are a lot of orders for their Vegan Fry, which features mushrooms, avocado and a potato farl, a busy service could potentially mean a lot of leftover avocado stones.

McNamara and Lillis experimented with dyeing the Irish linen that lines their oversized gym bags These bags are €310 and are, quite frankly, about as fabulous a gym bag as you’ll ever come across. The lining of their padded, quilted grey gym bag is dyed using petals from gorse flowers, the native wild Irish plant that grows all over the country. The lining of their black gym bag is dyed the dusky pink that is the specially of avocado dyeing, using the stones from Ard Bia. “This bag continues our love story with using up everything and wasting nothing,” say the duo on their website.

Could dyeing linens go some way towards easing the guilt of conscientious avocado advocates? In a 2016 Guardian piece called “Can hipsters stomach the unpalatable truth about avocado toast?” the food writer Joanna Blythman wrote about the problematic South American avocado trade saying, “the unprecedented international appetite for this unique fruit is indirectly fuelling illegal deforestation and environmental degradation”.

There is no way around this – our avocado obsession is creating huge problems at source, and dyeing a scarf for yourself isn’t going to reset the balance of your three-avocados-a-week habit. I’m not preaching by the way – I’m speaking of personal guilt here. Avocados are my go-to greens and I love the taste of their fatty flesh.

Perhaps a good approach for me, and maybe you, is to eat less avocados – Irish kale is a great alternative – and to try and seek out businesses, like Ard Bia and The Tweed Project, who not only care about the environment but are taking steps to minimise their impact upon it. And, sure, maybe I can save up a few avocado stones and dye a scarf or an old shirt pink. That sounds like a good way to spend a lazy afternoon.

www.rebeccadesnos.com

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