Friday, February 8, 2013

Naturally Pigmented Cotton

Did you know that cotton could grow in colors?  Originally khaki from India wasn’t dyed at all, it was made using light brown cotton.  In 1982 Sally Fox began cultivating naturally pigmented cotton in her yard in California.  She still cultivates cotton, but now it’s on the scale of hundreds of thousands of plants a year.  While colored cotton is a native plant, before her work the staple length was too short for commercial spinning.  She has doubled the length by selecting for that trait.  Even more interesting, she noticed that several of the colors are naturally fire resistant.  She is now cultivating for that property.  Nature is a true wonder.

There are currently six distinct shades grown, all in the green and brown families.  When the cotton is already colored, the issue of toxic dye is mute.

We had a chance to see it growing in the fields last Autumn.  It was beautiful.
Sustainable Cotton Project Farm Tour 2012

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