Sea and earth combine in an explosion of color!
We are proud to present the final color in our 2012 Medicinal Clothing Collection ….Toyon. Worn by those
with open sores. The baby onesie could be worn by children suffering from sores.
To create this dye, we started by cutting the last 5-10 inches of Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) branches. This
small and abundant native California tree was growing within a mile of where we set up our dye camp. A large
copper pot was stuffed with the the toyon leaves and stems, and boiled for 90 minutes. The dye then sat in the
copper pot for 3 days, at which time it was reboiled for another 90 minutes. The dye was then strained of all
plant materials. The womens tshirts, youth tshirts, and baby onesies were then mordanted using ocean water.
Salty sea water on the boil for one hour, and then the dripping wet items were put into the dye pot and cooked
for one hour.
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is apparently the plant that Hollywood was named after. No one knows for
sure, but when the settlers came to the Hollywood area, the story goes that they thought this shrub/small tree looked
like the holly plants back home in Europe….hence the name Hollywood.
Toyon is also called Christmas Berry because its little red berries usually ripen right around Christmas time.
Because of their beautiful oblong, serrated, and glossy leaves, which stay green all year round, and those
beautiful red berries, everyone in the Hollywood Hills wanted them as Christmas decorations. They began to
become extremely over-harvested until the 1920’s, when Ms. Bertha Rice and her son Roland campaigned to
protect them. They published a small book, with the final chapter devoted entirely to Toyon, which eventually
led to a law making it illegal to harvest wild plants.
We certainly don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past, but we also don’t want to forget how to use this
plant in a sustainable way. It is a member of the Rose Family, and the smell while cooking the dye was
heavenly. You will notice the smell as soon as you open the package.