Amanda de Beaufort

Amanda de Beaufort

Better known as the @dyekween, Amanda de Beaufort has been busy channelling the natural beauty of plants into garments and items for the home. A lifelong crafter and maker, who works by day in New York City doing marketing for an architect, Amanda spends her nights creating dyes and flexing her creative muscle to give life to a_db botanical colors, a business she has built with her hands, and a little help from friends.

Amanda’s dyes are made from things she forages in the woods, and everyday kitchen scraps such as avocado pits, onion skins and carrot tops, as well as organic dye extracts: logwood and indigo - and minerals. The resulting rich textures and tones cannot be found in industrial dyes. And the fabrics dyed this way are free from toxins and harsh chemicals that can pollute the environment and irritate the skin. With so much time and care taken in the creative process, along with the somewhat magical chemical reactions, each piece turns out as Amanda describes, ‘perfectly imperfect’.

“One of the things I love about the natural dyeing process is that is slow”, she says. “Dye baths can take more than a day to soak up all the color and get that beautiful varied texture. To create one piece can take more than a week when you factor in the scouring, mordanting, dyeing, curing, and finishing of each piece. This unique and handmade quality of natural dyeing gives it life! A piece that is hand-dyed with plants will change over its lifetime and, to me, becomes more beautiful.”

Amanda says she is driven to share this lost (at least in the Western cultures) practice of using plants to make color. “I think there is meaning in it and perhaps I can open a door for others to explore what nature can offer. Up until the mid-19th century, all textiles were colored with plants! I think people change when they care, and you care when you are connected.”

“Right around the time I started getting into natural dyeing I also stopped buying fast fashion. That is another factor for me in this craft, I believe in surrounding yourself with beauty and objects that you love. Slow food, slow fashion, and slow color.”

Her website is only ever stocked with an adequate sufficiency of beautiful table linen, sweatshirts, bags and more, plus - my favorite, the botanical bundle dye kit for adults and kids. Because the process is slow, supply isn’t always guaranteed. Sometimes you have to wait for an item you want - like the sweatshirts which come out in batches and size runs. This is all part of the experience and perhaps a necessary reckoning for us in our voracious, on-demand world.

Perfectly imperfect.

Amanda was a 2019 Finalist in the Etsy Design Awards (Earth Friendly category). She is embarking on a collaboration with Anthropologie this Spring, and is also writing a book. Read more about her here.

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