oh, do i want to use the translation of avocados as this post’s title :)

I’ve been trying to find research papers on the use of avocado as a textile dye, and have found little, though i have found a bit. The first link is a badly translated hoot, especially “The word avocado comes from nahuatl ahuacatl, which also siginifica testicles” or probably properly translated as “means testicles”. (Not sure how accurate that is either, as it may have been a joke on the Spanish invaders…)  Second link  is more “scholarly” though only a photo of the seeds is shown, no actual information on their use, and no actual listing, Latin or otherwise in the tables of plants used. Obviously this is a MesoAmerican dye, as avocados are only found in the “New World”. ( Central and South America).  (Somewhere down the rabbithole, i found a brief mention of deep purple blacks also, but i’ll be damned if i can find that again……although i did notice deeper purple splotches on one failed attempt, so who knows. Of course, i can’t find *that* either, but at the time it was the pits only that i had used.) I do wonder too about the popularity of avocado dye having such a bandwagon–who “re-discovered” it, had a “happy accident”, did any research?

The pits are reportedly high in tannins–though i’m not sure how to qualify that. I suspect too that the skins are going to be less permanent, but i could be wrong, as i haven’t any scientific information to back any of this up. The only other research paper i could find mentioned an orange colour from the pit, but no mention as a textile dye, just as a food additive. I’m therefore going to keep the pits and peels separate in dye baths also, when it comes time to use the extractions. I’m allowed to have avocados in my diet luckily (in moderation) , after recent heart issues, diet being one item of speculation, so still plan on saving more bits!

I fortunately have stumbled into a Chilean dyer on a FB group, and she offered to share any historically accurate info she finds in her own search for these geo-centric dyes.

Meantime, the brews deepen in colour, while i work on other parts of the Summer Madder Project!


EDIT APRIL 30/19: subsequent discussions in a natural textile dye group, and my own lightfast tests, have concluded that avocado’s lovely pinks will gradually oxidize to browns, because they are more a tannin, than a dye.

Your thoughts? (Spammers, good luck on that.)

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