New Textile Book

As soon as I saw this was available, I treated myself.  It was all I expected it to be. There were no ‘little projects’ to be found.  There are just some interesting ideas to get me thinking about how I could expand my eco printing and natural dyeing projects.

In the book, Alice includes ideas about collecting found objects. I know there are a lot of books containing that subject but it is good to be reminded periodically. She talks about collecting ‘colors’, how to make natural ink, how to select items for rust printing, weaving and twining with natural materials, combining techniques and more. In addition to all that, it is a pleasure to look at. It is one of the books I don’t store on the bookshelf but keep out to review.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in using natural materials and found items in their textile work.

Tried Something New

I have been following several eco print groups on Facebook. There are lots of great ideas, beautiful results and helpful people in all these groups. Every now and again there will be a tip or trick that I feel I can apply to my work. Sometimes they turn out and sometimes they don’t.

The scarves on the left side of each of the above photos are an example of a very interesting tip. After the mordant prepared silk was soaked in vinegar water and covered with foliage, I covered the whole thing with a piece of cloth soaked in ferrous sulphate (iron water) before it was rolled up for processing. Amazing what happened. The scarves on the right were processed as I would normally process eucalyptus leaves to maintain the beautiful color.

I decided to take this idea one step further and try it on a couple of scarves that did not turn out satisfactorily the first time.

Now the sweet gum, eucalyptus, and bamboo really show up. The color is great.

Here the oak leaves provided a great resist.

The results were wonderful. It made me go back through all the scarves I had processed so far to see if any of them could use a little boost.

Been Too Long

I can’t believe it has been over a month since my last post. I have been busy with my eco printing and testing more indigo resist patterns. The scarf above is silk printed with rose leaves, Purple Heart and some woodland fern with a few brushstrokes of indigo.

Unfortunately, I also had a computer crash so many hours were spent trying to find all the software and drivers to reload. Thought maybe the computer experts could copy my disk drive to a new one but the best they were able to do was load the operating system. Well at least I had a bit of warning before the crash so, in spite of backing up my data daily, I made a special backup with my ‘can’t do without’ folders and pictures. Experience has taught me now to have a copy of the system image (at least updated weekly) and to do backups that make sense. Finally back in business.

This week I plan on a heavy indigo session. Have several scarves with sewn resists done and plan on starting to prepare the shape resists today.

Continuing with Botanicals

Interesting to see how my work has progressed since last year. But there are times we go back to the tried and true. Here we have rose leaves, fern leaves, violet leaves and some purple heart. This silk habotai piece was processed in the same pot as the two below so it ended up with a little langiappe – a touch of madder root in the corner.

Here was a bit of silk chiffon with oak leaves, crape myrtle leaves, bamboo and a bit of madder root extract. The black was a result of the rusty can the scarf was wrapped around when processed.

This was a piece of silk habotai that was processed with oak leaves, sweet gum leaves, bamboo and some madder root. This, too, was wrapped around a rusty can to achieve the black areas.

There may have been a touch too much madder root in the last two as some of the yellow from the leaves (resulting from the a pre-mordant of aluminum sulfate) was a bit overwhelmed.

I am busily prepping some scarves (doing a little shibori stitching) to get ready for my next indigo day. As it is so warm outside, I want to make sure I have everything ready for a busy day of dyeing. Not sure if the indigo pot will last more than a couple of days in the heat.

Time to Post

Been busy doing things and forgetting to stop, take photos and post results. I follow several natural dye groups on Facebook and remember someone posting their process which included a 6 hour boiling bath. I decided to give it a try and, as you can see, the fig leaves gave amazing prints. The other botanicals are angel’s trumpet (brugmansia), rose petals, live oak leaves and bamboo leaves. The golden aura around the fig leaves is from the angel’s trumpet (mine are apricot in color). Even though the figs gave fantastic prints, the rose petals went past their red-pink stage and left a pinkish brown imprint. As I write this, I have more scarves in the pot cooling. I decided to try boiling these for 4 hours instead of 3 and use a different mix of botanicals. Anxious for them to cool and see the results.

Forgot the Paper!!

Was reminded, when I saw a friend’s post today, that I forgot to include pictures of the paper I had also done when I processed the pieces shown in yesterday’s post. These papers were done in the same bath as the cotton/silk scarf seen below.

For the paper prints I used sweetgum leaves, oak leaves, bamboo, rosemary stalks and pear leaves. The paper was boiled for only 2 hours as opposed to the 3 hours I use for fabric. The bath had green tea and some rusty tomato cage pins.

Tried to get some color onto paper prints but my initial attempt, a couple of months ago, was very disheartening. Will have to make that my next paper project.

Sweetgum Plus More

Had more Sweetgum fun. The first two pictures are silk habotai with sweetgum, dried rosemary stems, bauhinia plus miscellaneous all dipped in an iron solution. I love the rosemary resist. It was dipped in an iron solution which gave it that halo. This was then boiled in an iron solution bath with rusty bits added.

The third photo is a cotton/silk fabric. I used primarily oak leaves, pear leaves and bamboo. All leaves were dipped in an iron solution and boiled in an iron solution bath with rusty bits added.

The bath and dip I used for both was from an iron extract which was brown in color. I have prepared my own solution using rusty bits which is turning a very dark gray. Will be interesting to see if here is any difference.

Sweet Gum – First Time

Last week I participated in a workshop led by Nicola Brown. We all had a great time and I picked up a couple of ideas to use in my own work. That is one of the reasons to go to workshops, isn’t it, beside having fun?

My friend, Diane, had brought some Sweet Gum leaves to use in her experiments and when we left for the day, I snagged some that she hadn’t used. I used them (after a quick dip in an iron solution) on a silk scarf (mordanted and then soaked in vinegar) with the addition of some annatto seeds. The bundle was boiled in a madder root bath. The leaves turned a beautiful blue and the madder a burgundy. I do like the effect.

First Spring Prints

With the late winter rains, all my plants really grew. The violet leaves on this scarf are amazing. To help with perspective, the scarf is 8 garden inches wide. Love them with the annatto seeds. There were many other botanicals on this piece but the violet leaves really stood out.

Did something to this scarf I probably won’t do again. The violet leaves were just a bit pale so I dipped the scarf, post print, into an iron solution. Thought it would give the greens an olive tone but it turned them rather brown. Still like the piece but would have preferred more green in the leaves.

Just finished 3 more pieces but they are somewhat disappointing. All spring leaves do not give off their best color. Still do have some winter leaves in my stash as well as goodies in my freezer. Think I’ll go ahead and use them up.

Eco Print with Fountain Plant

After the late winter rains, the fountain plant really burst forth. The red was so vibrant I thought it might be a good printing candidate. I cut off a branch and also used some of the fresh wood violet leaves in my yard. I rolled them up in a silk scarf and simmered them in a bath lightly sprinkled with tumeric.

This is the branch surrounded by violet leaves. There is a slight pinkish cast to the print.

These are the violet leaves.

This is the whole scarf.