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"Natural dyes and making are nature and we all need more of her right now"

This is a guest post by Ceilidh Chaplin, founder of Billynou Apparel.

Hi knack Tribe, which I feel so honoured to be part of by the way!

I’m Ceilidh - I have a small brand called Billynou and I’m a natural dyer. I still feel weird saying it like that. Imposter syndrome is real, guys. I never feel like I’m actually qualified to say that I have a brand or that I have enough knowledge to share with others but apparently I do and my virtual community has been indispensable in giving me the confidence to put myself out there.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus this blog post on but finally wellness and how natural dyeing and my online community have helped me navigate a particularly challenging time in my life seemed appropriate.

The past few months have been so challenging for so many people, some more than others but most people have been affected in some way or another. I have suffered with the grief of losing my father in March but something about the connections I have made online surrounding natural dyes, craft and my brand have made things bearable and given me purpose.

I’ve been playing around with natural dyes for a few years now. I initially discovered them when researching non toxic dyes to colour the overalls I make for my brand. I read that avocados can make pink and I was sold before even trying it.

I’m very concerned with the sustainability of the fashion industry and constantly questioning the ethics of making new stuff to put out into the world. From this respect natural dyes have given me the opportunity to share my creativity with others in a way that I can feel like I’m genuinely giving or offering something worthwhile. I like to share the knowledge that I have gained in the hopes others can enjoy it too.

I have created a YouTube channel with my partner, offering tutorials and videos documenting my processes. I make a fool of myself in front of the camera and he makes it look good. We also try to involve out daughter Billy as much as possible in the process and I LOVE this. Doing something creative as a family is so bonding and feels so special, even when navigating our differences of opinions! This Youtube channel has helped build my online community ten fold and I can honestly say with all my heart that connecting with people in this way (and that includes everyone I've connected with through knack) has kept me afloat and helped me feel more inspired and creative than ever!

All this coming from someone who is generally quite anti social media. I guess I’m just more for connection!

Natural dyes and making have been and continue to be my path to wellness, and I guess that is what I want to share. They can teach us so much if we are open to letting them.

They can take you from the anticipation and excitement of the process to the satisfaction and pride of creating something beautiful to the disappointment and frustration of failure, all within minutes - reminding us that it’s all just part of it. They are nature and we all need more of her right now.

Love and light, Ceilidh

WIN a unique naturally-dyed fisherman's beanie by taking part in our December box competition!

Ceilidh Chaplin is the founder of Billynou Apparel, designing and making comfortable clothing using natural fibres and dyeing techniques from her home in the South of France. Billynou is named after Ceilidh's biggest inspiration - her daughter Billy - and their motto is "We rise by lifting others".

Ceilidh lead our October Natural Dyeing Workshop - starting an obsession with natural dyeing with many of our members!

Stay up to date by following Billynou on Instagram and Facebook, and check out her clothing on the website.