|Peony Leaf Hanging with Black Thread Embellishment|
1. I love plants! They are the primary component of this process.
2. I love experimenting! Experimentation is key to getting a handle on what works.
3. I love presents! Every time I open a newly processed packet, it feels like it's my birthday!
|Fabric & plant bundles ready for processing|
|Fabric & plants wrapped on tin cans after processing|
|Dried oak leaves on linen, ready for wrapping|
|Oak leaves and linen securely wrapped with twine around a birch stick, with ferrous sulfate mordant ready to add to simmering water bath.|
|Saucepan containing some hot water, used to submerge the floating bundles|
|Oak leaf prints, embellished with gold thread|
About the processing with heat: I have successfully processed both fabric and paper bundles in simmering water and above it with steam, usually for 2 or 3 hours. Sometimes I break up the required time, such as when I need to run an errand and don't want to leave the stove on. The break doesn't seem to matter. I am fortunate to have a vented fan that takes the moisture out of the house. REALLY helpful! I generally leave the bundles to cool overnight or for a few hours. After unwrapping the materials, I try to avoid rinsing the fabrics for at least a few days to allow for the continued bonding of the plant pigments to the fabric.
Is heat necessary? My understanding is that printing can take place at room temperature but that it requires longer periods of time. In her bible (or book, for some) Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles, India Flint has information on cold processing. I highly recommend her book, although I wouldn't call it the best resource for rank beginners. There are loads of books, blogs, websites, and workshops. I explore endlessly! You should too.
Here is a short list of plants that have worked very well for me:
- oaks (all species that I tried)
- peony leaves
- onion and shallot skins (I collect them in a plastic bag as I cook and store in the freezer)
- eucalyptus (moderately successful - from florist shops)
- fruit tree leaves (cherry, pear, some unknown species)
- mangrove leaves
- fresh seaweed (Sargassum sp.)
- sweet gum leaves (Liquidambar styraciflua)
- sassafras leaves (Sassafras albidum)
BOTANICAL NOTE: Don't be afraid of using Latin names! It's the most reliable way to know exactly which plant you have or want to find. Above, I used the Genus and the species names of sweet gum = Liquidambar styraciflua. When using the names, the protocol calls for either 1) italicizing both words or 2) underlining each word separately: Liquidambar styraciflua. Here's the thing: each species can have many common names but it has only ONE scientific name. The wonderful print below was made using a Florida garden plant that my friend called "Lipstick Plant" (because of the red flowers at the tips of the stems). But when I looked up the plant online, I found a completely different plant called "Lipstick Plant." Not what I was looking for!
|"False" Lipstick Plant on paper|
For now, here are a few images of finished works made with my fabric and paper eco prints, and I am working on more ways to use up those piles I am accumulating!
|Purse made with Peony print on cotton|
|Cherry leaves processed between tin, in red cabbage bath|
|Silk scarf processed on tin can with onion skin and tropical leaves|
|Oak leaf table runner on linen|
I expect I'll hear from many of you with more information. I'll attempt to organize any comments into a post later in the month, so send it on. Thanks!