Based in South Devon, we are a husband and wife team that now includes a little son. You can find us at our regular stall in Totnes Market on Fridays & Saturdays and maybe one or two festivals during the Summer. We have always loved natural fibres, with their textures and amazing range of craft uses. Renewable resources make the most sense to us as we want these crafts to be around for all the generations to come.
When a natural fibre product reaches the end of its working life, it can usually be composted, which gives it another life. What better way to treat something that served you well in some way. It is not only for the ethos of organic and sustainable production, but also a passion for the timeless beauty of products that continue to be made the way they always have been.
We greatly enjoy sourcing the raw fibres and materials and working directly with dyers, weavers, knitters, crochetters, pattern cutters, carvers, paper makers and felters. We wish to promote all the traditional crafts and continue supporting Nepalese artisans without whom, Sorazora would not be possible. Ethical, sustainable and fair trade is essential for the livelihoods of all those involved in helping Sorazora bring designs to life.
The use of natural fibres has no impact on the environment as long as they are both a sustainable resource and totally biodegradable. We love all natural fibres, both cellulose and protein, and appreciate each one for their different characteristics.
Two fibres we use time and time again are hemp and nettle. We are fortunate to be able to source these two fibres in Nepal where they are harvested, retted, handspun and handwoven in the same way that it has always been done. The processes used to turn these raw fibres into a fabric requires no chemical treatment which keeps them truely organic and removes any risk from the craftspeople and end users.
Giant Himalayan Nettle, or ‘allo’ as it is called in Nepalese, can grow to a height of three metres and provides very long fibres between the stem’s bark and its wooden core. When the bark is stripped from the core, the fibres are removed with it. The bark is then slowly cooked over a fire in an alkaline solution of water and wood ash to separate the fibres. It is not a process without effort as these fibres require a lot of work to be readied for the drop spindle. This process is also used to turn the hemp fibres into yarn destined for woven fabrics or twines and ropes.
Both hemp and nettle are robust fibres with their own unique shades, but generally the hemp fibre is stronger and the nettle softer.
We love the beauty of all natural dyes’ earthy colours and that the history of natural dyes goes all the way back to the earliest forms of colour. It’s an international history shared by all.
Natural dyes are a colourant obtained from any natural source and a great place to find them can be right in your own back yard!
Roots, bark, nuts, leaves and flowers are just a few common sources of colour. Most natural dyes are usually a plant extract for colour and a mineral mordant to set the dye or adjust colour. Most of the extracts we use at Sorazora are native to Nepal and usually sourced from natural medicine shops, where they’re mostly sold for their medicinal qualities.
Now largely discarded as being uneconomically viable by most, we aim to help provide this timeless alternative to modern synthetics. For us, synthetic dyes are a symptom of mass production and we have a far greater connection with and appreciation for the traditional methods.
In keeping with both the tradition and the environment, we’ll continue to choose natural dyes for natural fibres. We just love that the colours enhance with age and mellow into increasing beauty. This great craft must be introduced to the next generation to protect ancient dye techniques from becoming just a subject in a history book.
We hope you enjoy our products as much as we do.
Nathan, Hiromi and Sonny.