Wilden Tales: Paola Barzanò’s color revolution
Thanks to Paola Barzanò change has natural colors. Architect, experimenter and teacher, Paola tells us her multicolored story.
Creating natural products is like sowing a seed that can sprout knowledge and passion. And it is precisely from the small ancient things that my research begins. The result is the creation of a capsule collection designed to convey specifically the values I believe in.
The small textile collection designed for Wilden.herbals was born after sharing the values of respect and love for nature and for the environment but also from the desire to infuse the energy of the natural dyes from plants and natural textile fibers. My passion was born many years ago when I started designing my first natural textile collection. I chose yarns of vegetable origin such as linen, hemp, organic cotton and animal fibers such as wool and silk, by looking for colors in line with the natural identity I wanted for my collection.
That’s how I discovered the fascinating world of natural dye and I decided to learn how to master them and to use dyeing plants – to really get to know the raw materials I selected. Natural color has thus become the trademark of my collections – and the center of my life, too
The right time to dye came during a hot summer, some years ago. I had read about a lady, a pioneer of sustainability, who spun the wool of her sheep in a beautiful valley in South Tyrol, Val d’Ultimo, so I went to visit her. It was love at first sight when I saw she dyed her wool with the local spontaneous plants. It was the next day my experimentation began: for me it’s like a long journey of discovery of natural dye, always in progress.
The hand-spun raw wool turns yellow with the reseda, then again it takes on the red tones of the madder, then indigo blue, purple and again the shades of green. I hand-dyed each skein with a specific color: in a few days I had a very interesting heterogeneous color palette. I found myself knitting many squares of wool of different colors. The result was a wonderful blanket.
For Wilden.herbals I chose three energetic and relaxing tones of color and organic cotton and hemp, two extremely resistant and pleasant fabrics.
- annatto (bixa orellana).
Orange is a stimulating color full of energy. It promotes appetite and conviviality.
- madder (Rubia tinctorum)
- Brazilian redwood (Caesalpinia species)
Red is the color of life and willpower, passion and strength.
- woad (Isatis tinctoria)
- indigo (Indigofera species)
Blue is the color of tranquility and meditation. It slows down our pulse and our breathing and it induces a pleasant feeling of calm.
Organic cotton: soft, breathable, resistant
Hemp: resistant, it protects from electromagnetic pollution, cool in summer and warm in winter, it has a lower environmental impact resulting from a reduced consumption of water, fertilizers and pesticides.
Do you want to start dyeing after reading this article? I will be happy to tell you about my experience and to take you in the dyeing process of textile fibers with natural dyes from plants. We will do it step by step by respecting the suspended time we are living. Creating a dyeing laboratory at home is very simple and will be the starting point to work anywhere in an independent way; you can work in your kitchen, terrace or garden. Immediate satisfaction is guaranteed, together with the pleasure of entering into a relationship with the colors coming from the biological cycle of nature where we belong too.
About me: I am an experienced bioarchitect with a specific knowledge of sustainable materials, the real common thread of my interdisciplinary experiences as a teacher and a designer.
I currently teach Color Science in an international fashion school in Florence and I collaborate with Wilden.herbals for the textile collection’s design and production; I also supervise a research project on innovative materials from natural and renewable sources or from circular economy.
Photo by Carolina Chini for Wilden.herbals, all rights reserved