Cannabis – grown for drugs and fibers
Have you ever just stumbled across a patch of Cannabis plants growing in the wild? Imagine Melissa’s surprise when she one day walked past her apartment building in Umeå and found these Cannabis plants growing right under her window sill. Although Cannabis is widely known as a medicinal and recreational drug due to the presence of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabis has a long history of being used as a source of fiber for making rope and textiles. Cannabis that is grown for fiber production usually has low THC content and is called “hemp”, a term that distinguishes it from other strains of Cannabis sativa.⠀
Welcome to the world of the pith
What are pith cells, you ask? Pith is the name for the spongy tissue found right at the centre of many stems, including the hemp stem. Pith cells have a wide variety of functions; they can be metabolically active, can serve as storage cells or can transfer nutrients over short distances. They differ from fibres in that the pith cells have thin walls around them, and do not function primarily in structural support.
This original hemp specimen was hand sectioned and stained with the dye Toluidine blue. Toluidine blue is a metachromatic dye, which means it changes colour depending on the chemistry of the compounds it is staining. Since all the cells are pith cells, they should have all stained the same colour, but due to incomplete saturation with the dye, it ended up producing a lovely gradient of colours ranging from blue-green to purple-pink.
The colourful hemp pattern
This bright and colourful pattern is perfect for children’s clothes. It is joyful, fun, and inspires the imagination. Judith made a dress for her daughter from this lovely fabric. This dress was made from our “hemp pith” pattern printed on organic cotton satin. Organic cotton satin makes for a soft and flowing dress, that is comfortable for kids to wear and play in.