A natural dyer meets an Artist



Cape Town botanical dye studio Beagle + Basset collaborate with artist Alice Toich for a limited range of hand-painted silk scarves.

Beagle + Basset take pride in collaborating with creatives and brands who share their ethos of being led by nature. Their latest collaboration is with Alice Toich, the Cape Town artist famed for her oil paintings of flowers and fruits, creating a limited range of hand-painted silk scarves. “The collaboration is one that celebrates time and patience,” says Alice. “It’s been something we have conversed about for some time, taking each step gracefully and letting it fall into place the way it should.”

After being hand-dyed in the Beagle + Basset studio, the scarves were each hand-painted by Alice, making no two the same. Alice has a deep connection to nature, and was happy to take to the outdoors and work among fields and forests for this project, “surrounded by nature throughout this project, and taking the process seriously in every element that has been used to develop this piece of wearable art.”

She painted with Indian ink and iron water, which acts as a reactive to the botanical dyes, creating beautifully organic markings on the fabric. When choosing which plants’ pigment to use for this collaboration, Beagle + Basset honoured their commitment to using only what is given by nature. The botanicals used come from plants that can be harvested in abundance, as well as black wattle, an alien plant which can be used to make something beautiful as its growth in the area is eradicated. Madder root was used to create a bold red shade, acacia bark for a rusty brown, and the black wattle resulted in a dusty blush.

For her paintings, Alice was led by the colours of each dye. Burnt red proteas adorn the madder root-red scarves, as a nod to the recent mountain fires in Cape Town. The rich rusty brown called for paintings of tall trees, and the dusty pink shades inspired Alice to paint branches and flowers. “One of the dyes is a red colour which is trapped in the root of the madder plant,” the artist continues. “This plant produces beautiful flowers, which is why we chose to focus on the fynbos protea flowers that surround us in CT. We looked at how flowers have a purpose and the transient time in which they exist. They form, they bud, they bloom and then they decay. This is sort of a meditation in a fleeting moment. Madder red is also a fiery colour and the protea flowers have this relationship with burning in order to release their seeds – they have this connection to a flame.”

Made from organically certified silk, the scarves are large enough to wrap around your shoulders, soft enough to roll up and wear on your head, and so beautiful you might just want to frame yours. This range is limited to 30 scarves, with just 10 available in each shade.

“The organic colour and tonality will change over time when exposed to certain elements. Just like life,” says Alice. “It’s a wonderful lesson in greeting each new moment with gratitude and accepting change.”


- Written by Cayleigh Bright