Does the idea of wrapping yourself in natural fibres infused with plants used through millennia for their beneficial properties sound gorgeous?
Imagine knowing that the goodness of plants such as lavender, aloe, turmeric, calendula and neem are not only in the skincare products you use, but are also in the fabric that is lying next to your skin.
Picture bringing plant energies into your yoga or meditation practice by using a beautiful organic cotton, handwoven mat that has been dyed with concoctions of herbs used in the Indian ayurvedic medicine tradition for supporting muscle repair, well-being and toxin release.
Archeus skincare draws heavily on herbal healing traditions and is complemented by products such as smudge sticks and herbal teas. We make all our products by hand in the Archeus apothecary in Poraiti just 10 minutes from Napier and our production studio in Napier. We also run workshops teaching people how to make their own natural products.
Now Archeus is launching a collection of textiles that is dyed and infused with plants used in herbal medicine traditions for their beneficial properties. The range is starting with yoga mats and scarves. Bedlinen and nightwear will be coming to the Archeus website soon.
Archeus founder Georgina Langdale develops all the formulas for the skincare range and the deeper she immersed herself in traditional herbal knowledge the more she began to experiment with other ways of working with healing plants.
“A friend of mine wasn’t very well and I just wanted to wrap her up in goodness, and that is how the textile range started”, Georgina explains.
Herbally infused scarves
Georgina uses traditional and non-toxic methods to prepare natural fibres including silk, linen and merino for dyeing with medicinal plants growing on her and her partner's property. She also adds plant essences made from things growing on her property such as oak, pine, St John’s wort and rosemary and therapeutic grade essential oils to the dye vats to slowly infuse into the fibre. “I want to work with beautiful plants growing right here where I live and work as I love the idea of capturing their attributes brought about by sense of place, a bit like terroir in wine.”
Some of the scarves are dyed as one colour, others use the stunning ‘eco-print’ technique developed by Australian textile artist India Flint. Fabrics used include silk, linen and merino.
By using plants growing on the property, runs of one colour scarves are limited to the amount of plant material available. For example, only three stunning yellow goldenrod scarves were produced from this season’s show of goldenrod flowers outside the Archeus apothecary.
Scarves made using the eco-print technique can take weeks to finish and each one is truly unique.
In addition to the scarves we create in the apothecary, we have also partnered with a workshop for people with learning and physical disabilities (similar to Hohepa in Hawke’s Bay) in Kerala to produce stunning silk scarves hand-dyed with plants selected for their ability to surrender their colour and that have a history of medicinal use.
Ayurvedically dyed yoga mats
Georgina had seen ayurvedically dyed yoga mats on previous trips to India and loved them. “I just love the idea of doing meditative yoga practice on a mat that is organic and infused with beautiful healing herbs. It adds a whole new level of wellness to a daily ritual”. She found the artisan makers of the mats and commissioned them to make them for Archeus.
As Georgina was developing the Archeus textile range she became increasingly alarmed by what she discovered about mainstream fabric dyeing and finishing. The mainstream global textile sector uses over 8000 chemicals in fabric production. Many are toxic and persist in the environment These include heavy-metal-rich dyes and fixing agents, bleaches, solvents and detergents. Textile waste discharged into in waterways accounts for over 20% of global water pollution and create a myriad of health issues for workers and communities. Many fabrics such as those that are ‘fire retardant’ or ‘crease-free’ are finished with toxic chemicals including formaldehyde.
We feel that by producing natural and organic fibre products dyed with medicinal herbs we are helping give consumers a choice about what they put next to their skin as well as on it.
“Ultimately I think that people want to know they are making buying choices that are good for both human and environmental health. Given the choice between heavy-metals and herbs, I know what I would rather have on my skin! Many of the plants used in the Archeus textile range are also used in making our natural and organic skincare products and I just love that,” says Georgina.
Bedlinen and nightwear coming soon
The next part of the textile collection will be available online within the next couple of months. It is a range of GOTS certified organic bedlinen and nightwear dyed with blends of herbs used in ayurvedic medicine for a range of common health problems and for enhancing skin condition and well-being. Georgina has teamed up with ayurvedic doctors and artisans in India and local Hawke's Bay designer Sara Bristow to create the nightwear range and plan for future additions to the bedlinen.
We are getting a lot ready for this range, much of which will be sewn here in Hawke’s Bay.
If you want to be kept up to date with new arrivals to the Archeus website then join our mailing list and we will let you know when products become available.