More Botanical Printing

I’ve been spending a great deal of time this summer on my indigo processes; resist methods and dyeing. I do, however, try to sneak in a bit of time for some botanical printing.

There were a couple of batches that I am particularly fond of. The colors and images just seemed to be in harmony.

My favorite leaves for images are oak, pecan and sweet gum. There are other leaves,however, that leave wonderful tints and shadowy hints of their presence. Those are the leaves that give the pieces their overall look.

I will admit not all the leaves are from my area. My sister-in-law does send me small periodic parcels containing a few of the leaves from her area in the Michigan woods. I happily include those in my compositions.

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First Spring Batch

Started my resist stitching last fall. Took my time and ended up with a small basket full of fabric.

Finally made up my indigo vat (was waiting for the evenings to be not as cool as they had been) and dipped my basket of fabric. Didn’t wait to iron my pieces before I took the photos below (although they are washed).

Loved these. Tried several stitch options. They are destined to grow up into a couple of pillow covers.

Another interesting piece. Maybe this design on a couple of larger pieces. Would make a lovely top.

Can’t decide which side I like better. Maybe good for a pillow cover. Each design on a different side.

Only did one clamped fabric. Now that all my stitched pieces have been dyed I’ll clamp some pieces for my next dye day.

Simmer vs Steam

This print done primarily with pecan leaves, some sumac and annatto seeds was covered with an iron blanket and processed in a simmering bath.

This print done with oak leaves, pine needles and onion skins was covered with an iron blanket and processed over steam.

Both pieces were processed for the same amount of time and show, virtually, no real difference in appearance. I had also done an experiment using the same young fresh leaves and some hibiscus tea on two different scarves. One was simmered and the other steamed for the same length of time. I found no color difference between the two.

I see samples done by others who note they have steamed their pieces and there is definitely leaf coloration in their prints that I am not seeing in mine. All of my test pieces are silk habotai and have been processed in alum in the same way. I’ll continue doing this experiment with different leaves at different stages to see if that is the determining factor.

Humble Beginnings

Sometimes those things relegated to secondary roles become amazing and first rate themselves. Above is a small piece of old cotton (was a sheet once) that was used several times as a wrap over scarves when I didn’t want the wrapping string marks to show on the finished piece. Under the final prints and dye bath color can be seen shadowy shapes and colors from previous uses. This piece will now be set aside to be used as a backdrop for some stitching. It will grow up to be greater than it was.

This piece was an ‘iron blanket’. In my workshop it is a piece of cotton (a piece of old sheet) dipped in a diluted iron solution then placed over the top of a scarf before it was rolled up for the dye bath. This piece has even more interesting color and shadow prints than the wrap above as this was placed directly over the leaves on the scarf before it was rolled up. The last time it was used there were some beautiful oak leaves and a dye bath rich with madder extract. This beauty is destined to be a wall hanging.

‘Felt the Need’

Even though it’s a crazy time of year, I felt the need to do some printing. Above I used some eucalyptus, hamelia (hummingbird bush)leaves, and a bit of sweet gum.

Here I used sweet gum, maple, rose leaves, a couple of sprinkles of tumeric, oak and sumac berries. There was so much tannin the overall look is brown.

My favorite is this one. The scarf is covered with rose leaves, hamelia leaves large and small, some sweet gum and madder root.

I’m very happy I ‘felt the need’ to do these as the supply I had at 18 Hands Gallery was almost depleted. I took these and a couple more I had forgotten before down there today. I am very thrilled there are so many people interested in (and buying) my work. Next year I’ll try doing fewer scarves and do more table runners, pillow covers, etc. And of course, I’ll be doing a lot more indigo shibori.

It’s been a good year. I’m looking forward to even bigger and better things next year.

More Fun at 18 Hands

This Saturday, December 12th, the “Normally in January but
why not in December” Earring Slam Jam is being held at 18 Hands Gallery. The show is from 11 am – 5 pm. 18 Hands is located at 249 W. 19th St in the Heights. Phone Number is 713-869-3099. There will be champagne and chocolate fondue.

Below are some of the earrings I’ll have there and there are also some of my eco print scarves available in the gallery.

A sampling of my scarves.

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.