We have been crushing over Nana for the past year and finally got a chance to get to know her a little. Meet Nana - Arraei creative muse, a natural dye wizard, mother of two and inspiring small business owner. Nana started dyeing old clothing and vintage finds from her kitchen sink, hoping to reduce waste and give old clothing a new life... We collaborated with Nana on an exciting new naturally dyed silk scarf.
NANA'S WEARING THE IVY MINI DRESS
1. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF IF YOU HAD TO RELATE YOURSELF TO ONE THING - IT BEING A PLACE, AN EXPERIENCE, A FEELING...
I think intuition would be it. I have a strong inner voice that tells me when something is right or when to stay away. When I dare to listen to that voice, it gives me great guidance and survival skills in finding my own path.
2. DESCRIBE A DAY IN YOUR LIFE, A BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU DO AND THE RITUALS THAT DEFINE YOUR DAY?
My days revolve around my kids and I have been able to stay home with them full time the past year and a half. Being around kids forces you to be present and to live in the now. We spend most of our days outside where life during the pandemic felt most normal. Late night is usually when I have my window of me-time which I dedicate fully to my passion - natural dyeing. A few months back, I moved out of our kitchen to a tiny studio space with no windows but still my own space where I can be freer and don’t have to worry so much about making a mess. Even though I’m most tired at night I feel like creating brings back so much energy and joy and is something I do not want to live without.
3. WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR BOTANICAL INGREDIENTS FROM?
It feels like it takes a whole village to collect what I need. No, but I’m very dependent on my family and friends when it comes to collecting my dye supplies. My mother helps me to grow flowers because I don’t have a garden myself. My loved ones always bring me brown paper bags with their onion skins and avocados, I honestly don’t know what I would do without them because our households food waste isn’t enough. I also use plant extracts which I buy from sustainable sources that I trust.
4. HOW TO THE SEASONS INFLUENCE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS? DO YOU HAVE ANY CEREMONIAL PRACTICES REGARDING THIS?
Living in Sweden with the seasons has a big impact on my process, both when it comes to what nature has to offer but also when it comes to my own wellbeing. I’m not my best self during the dark periods where we rarely see daylight. I have to be careful with my energy, slow down and accept that my mind and body react the way that it does during the winter.
5. FOR SOMEONE JUST STARTING TO EXPERIMENT WITH NATURAL DYEING - WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THEM ON WHERE TO START?
Natural dyes are a beautiful combination of science and magic. The only way to find your expression is to keep experimenting and trying out different things. Try to use items you already have around you when it comes to dye supplies, materials and fabric or something you have a relation to and want to preserve. Books are a great source of knowledge but don’t get too stuck in being too precise, there are no right and wrongs so dare to explore and find your own process.
6. HOW DO YOU TUNE INTO YOUR "FLOW" STATE, WHERE YOU CAN ACCESS YOUR CREATIVE ENERGY ON TAP?
I feel most creative when I turn inwards and am not looking so much outside. I try to block out influences and just use my imagination. It’s challenging in the world we live in with all of the quick expressions we are exposed to daily. Yoga and meditation help me to stay grounded and I believe there is where I get the energy that later comes out in the form of creativity.
7. WHERE DOES WOMANHOOD MEAN TO YOU? HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH THE DIVINE FEMININE?
To me, it is a strong power and a natural ability to take care of, nurture, love and hold other beings as sisters, friends, mothers or whatever form that could be. When I embrace and balance my feminine and masculine energy is when I feel most like myself.