Tag Archives: ecoprint

Botanical Alchemy

We have been winding down after the workshop, playing Catan by the stove and keeping out of the rain. We are all reflecting on such a wonderful weekend with a lovely group of women who came from as far North as Saltburn in Yorkshire, East as London and West as Devon for this three day workshop.

Inspired by India Flint’s book Eco Colour this workshop took her bundling techniques and aimed to share her sustainable dye practice. We used locally sourced dye stuffs and simple mordants and modifiers. Silk, wool and cellulose fibres, were stitched, folded, wrapped, bundled, simmered and steeped over the three days.

table

Rain kept us inside for most of Saturday, stitching samples of various fabrics onto papers around the kitchen table. The wood burning stove keeping us all cosey and Dan made us plentiful cups of tea and coffee.

In between downpours, we managed a woodland walk. We gathered leaves and tree flowers left for us by the squirrels and had a surprise meeting with a Roe deer. We returned and put leaves, onion skins and discarded kitchen waste, including onion skins, cabbage and fallen petals in our folded paper and clamped them together and put into two baths.

The first paper bundles were opened that afternoon revealing wonderful colours. Two bundles were also prepared, simmered and left to steep overnight.

Sunday was glorious and was spent in the garden with much folding, wrapping and binding of silk and cotton around sticks, copper and iron. Claire brought some Eucalyptus and the rest of the dyestuffs came from the garden as well as the nearby woods.

tent and garden

Seven bundles were prepared and put into four pots of various brews. After simmering and steeping overnight, the bundles were laid out to drain, ready to be opened when everyone arrived. They all looked much the same from the outside.

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However, once opened, glorious colours, patterns and leaf shapes emerged. Wonderful!

Stitching  again together on the third day and one last bundle on fine cotton gauze and the workshop was over.

So soon these lovely generous and enthusiastic women left with a loaf of Dan’s home made bread and a couple of Persicaria tinctoria plants to start their indigo dye garden. I will hope to lure them back with more botanical alchemy. Next time it will be the quest for the perfect blue.

 

 

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Prints from the Fridge

Last Sunday was one of those wonderful, sunny Spring days, warm enough to eat outside and giving a taste of the Summer, I hope is on it’s way.

The weekend was made all the nicer as we had my three borrowed children (I dislike the whole step thing) gathered together for a birthday. The girls were in a creative mood and having found some old fruit and vegetables, lurking in dark corner’s of the fridge, I gathered some pieces of cotton, silk and paper to work with. These were then painted, sprayed, folded and rolled around various vegetation and layered in a steamer.  Later the bundles were unfolded to reveal lovely colours and patterns, all from fridge waste, including blueberries, red cabbage leaves and onion skins.

New Year and New Work

Happy Belated New Year.

New Year resolutions usually come out of guilt and feelings of inadequacy are to be avoided and as someone who suffers winter downers I am making plans to be kinder to myself and the world and try to do more of what makes me feel good. I have been thinking of positive plans for the year as I want to build on all the good things that came out of 2013.  Already I have bookings for the Mud resist course in July and the Bundles and Books in October which is heartening.

When I moved here from London I decided to get a dog to motivate me to go for walks and even during the darkest and miserable days of mid winter I have no regrets. The leaf printing has added a deeper sense of mindfulness to my walks and focused my attention on the changing seasons, the many varieties of trees and plants along the path and a deeper sense of place.A walk today found aconites, snowdrops coming into flower and the sun made a welcome change from the cloud and rain filled days of recent weeks.

This blog has added a discipline to my work and a more thoughtful approach to my practice.  I have a tendency to try and do too many things at once and not follow and record an idea to a conclusion. The discovery of new techniques can take me off on tangents leaving work unfinished and ideas unfulfilled.

I have been continuing with paperwork, folding, printing steaming and steeping ideas developing around the kitchen table. Boats, boxes, maps all conjuring up memories of far away places and journeys I have taken in my life.

First frost and watercolour paper

Dan returned from his weekly commute to London with samples of different papers from Atlantis Arts, some rusty nails in a bag and some other treasures for winter experiments. But first we have decorating to do so a weekend of sand paper, paint brushes and rollers and the living room has been transformed into a brighter place for the gloomy months.

This morning I woke up to the first frost of the winter.  The dog walk took us out into a crystal covered landscape. No pictures, (having forgot my camera) but many more frosty mornings ahead.

Finally some time to work. Which papers will produce the best colours? No rust at this stage as this may confuse things too much just paper leaves and steam. First into the steamer are the Rives BFK,  Aquarelle Arches 185 gsm HP, and Bockingford water colour 150gsm NOT ,with Acer palmatum, Prunus and Poplar italica

After half an hour first out of the steamer is the Aquarelle Arches which is showing bright colours of green, yellow and blue, The paper is sticky with size.

another half an hour the Bockingford which has more subtle prints and natural colours.

The heavy weight Rives BFK has produced unexpected rust notes. Quite different from the other sample of Rives I was given which was similar to the Arches sample.

Should really do more work on paper, though I’m really in the mood to look at the pile of sample pieces I have been accumulating and piecing them together.