As an eleven year old I was diagnosed with a curious disease and was given standard drugs to make me feel better. I later realized that the Western medicine I was using merely suppressed my symptoms instead of fixing the actual problem. After this realization, I started using herbal medicine which works naturally with my bodies own system to help heal itself. My work then harnesses the positive healing energies emanating from natural fibers, such as wool and linen, in combination with medicinal natural dyes.Throughout history, plants such as Calendula, Madder, Alkanet, and Indigo have been known to produce colors of yellow, red, purple and blue. Although different in nature, these plants share something essential to my practice; they all possess medicinal properties. The medicinal qualities are emitted through the active chemical compounds in the plant and then soaked into the fabric to radiate both the dye and fiber healing qualities onto the wearer. These medicinal energies are presented in the form of garments to promote a direct pathway for healing by being absorbed through the skin. Thus the healing garments act as an armor, a second skin, and create a sanctuary for the person wearing them.
Allysun West is a medicinal dye based textile designer in Portland, Maine. She completed her BFA in Textiles and Fashion from the Maine College of Art in 2018. where she began working with natural fibers, and plant based dyeing methods, transforming her work into garments of healing.
Intrigued by alternative medicinal qualities offered by plants, which also produce the dyes she colors her fabrics, West challenges the ideas of synthetic based items in and around our bodies with an alternative option of natural comfort and healing from the outside inward. A process she refers to in the creation of her garments as radiating energies.