THE STORY OF BLUMEN ROOTS NATURAL DYE DESIGN STUDIO
My Origin Story. Hello! I’m Melissa, owner of Blumen Roots, as well as an Educational Consultant and higher education Professor specializing in inclusive education. I’m also a partner, mama, artist, and outdoor enthusiast living in Missoula, Montana. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, I’ve called Montana home for the past 15 years.
I began to pursue fiber arts during my undergrad studies at Southwest Missouri State, where I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in printmaking in 2003. Since then, I’ve continued to weave screen-printing and other art mediums into my world on a personal level. For the past two decades, I’ve further explored paper making, sewing, soap making, candle making, essential oils, and natural body care products for myself, family and friends.
People often ask me about the origin of Blumen Roots— how I chose to work with plant-based dyes and what inspired my business name. Over the past few years, I have been going through a personal transformation of re-wilding myself. Part of this process has been connecting to my own ancestral roots (Irish, French, German, and "other Northern European" thus far), and blossoming with a refreshed identity. I chose "blumen" to recognize this process of awakening, while paying homage to my Deutsche roots, which have been traced back to settling in the Black Forest over 500 years ago. Although this is only one strand of my lineage, I have always felt this side of my family’s story run through me; experienced through my inner desire to connect to our natural world in an intimate way. Working with plant-based dyes offers me this opportunity. Throughout the dyeing process, I develop an intimate relationship with the plant material I’m working with, which can take anywhere from a handful of hours to months of fermentation. I have enjoyed spending hours upon hours in the wild harvesting and foraging, sharing stories about ancient lifestyle with my children, and feeling gratitude that they are growing up with grass-stained clothes and mud beneath their fingernails.
Since I can remember, I have dreamt of operating an ethical business linked closely with mother nature, and I am thrilled to have found myself in the slow textile movement. This movement has been gaining momentum over the years, and I see a bright future for the industry. My interest here started with my children’s skin sensitivities and environmental allergies. While trying to figure out health risks and exposure, I began taking a closer look into the world of textiles. During this time, I developed a deeper understanding of the lifecycle of textiles and just how much environmental stewardship involves sustainable choice making on every level- from growing and harvesting to cleaning, dyeing, manufacturing, and shipping. As an international community, it is our responsibility to take a close look at how these processes impact both the people involved, as well as the natural environment. We only have one chance at protecting this precious planet, and I truly believe that the everyday consumer can make a positive impact when given choice, knowledge and opportunity.
Understanding this, Blumen Roots reduces waste by composting all used plant material, conserves water during the cleaning and rinsing stages, and keeps waterways clean by using environmentally friendly dyes and detergents. We use local plant material as often as possible, and make ethical purchases from afar when necessary. As a new small business, it can be tricky when it comes to having access and purchasing power in sustainable options, but we are committed to making the best decisions possible and look forward to new doors opening as business grows. With deepest gratitude, thank you for being part of this growth and vision!