Where does the color come from? That particular dye, back then and today, is obtained in small amounts from sea snails. That's right, snails! Only one drop of liquid can be obtained from each snail. The Purpura patula pansa snail produces a substance that looks pale at first but becomes purple when exposed to air and light. The dye then colors the textile fiber.
This process was perfected by the native peoples of Mexico, especially the Mixtec. The Mistecs obtained their Purpura snails from the waters of the Pacific Ocean. After being "milked", the liquid being dripped directly on the fibers, the snail was returned to the sea. That practice has, in fact, preserved the snail population to this day.
Although the Purpura snail faces the threat of a growing tourist industry in the bays where it lives, many hope that this fascinating creature will be preserved and continue to provide its beautiful color.
I am thankful for this ancient way of getting the color purple. With that said, please enjoy some of my purple creations.
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