This is one of the results of my first batch ever of eco prints. I did a number of bundles, as they are called, using leaves and flowers gathered from my own garden. I just used whatever fabrics and papers I had to hand, sandwiched the organic matter between two sheets of whatever, then rolled them up and bound them tightly. I then steamed them for an hour or so and set them aside for a week.
Leaving the bundles untouched for a week was pure agony, as patience is not one of my virtues. The excitement of the unrolling was worth the wait, however.
The brown marks are dyes from some ivy-leaved toadflax which grows here and there from a brick wall. The pink and green lines are from the sari silk that I used to bind the bundle. The fabric is probably cotton. I got a small bundle of it for a couple of euros in a boot sale in a street near where we lived in Paris in 2009 or 2010. It’s some sort of lining material and has been cut into the shape of the left or right hand side of a jacket.
Other bundles sandwiched organic matter that included red Acer palmatum leaves, ivy leaves and I’ve forgotten what else now. (In future I will be more methodical and keep records and samples). I used cartridge paper (acid-free) and believe it or not, the second print here is what turned up on used fabric conditioner sheets.
It’s the fourth bundle from the top in the bundle pic and if you look closely, you’ll see I tied in two pieces from a broken metal tape measure. The fabric has reacted to the metal. This is called a mordant.
Of course, this is novice-level dyeing, but I’m captivated – the possibilities are endless.
And I’ve already steamed a bigger batch of bundles this morning, again using more organic matter from the garden, and also some Golden Rod; and Eucalyptus leaves (green and red) from my local florist – who always gives me a discount and extra sheets of the lovely and varied tissue papers she uses for wrapping as she knows I am a starving artist.
My kitchen smells of eucalyptus. I’m scouring the charity and antique shops for copper dye pots (copper is a mordant). I’ve sent away for some silk chiffon for printing; and some alum powder (potassium chloride) (another mordant) is arriving tonight.
I’m going to set up an Eco Print gallery shortly, to display more of my eco prints (and what I’ve used them for). And my grateful thanks to India Flint and her book Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles.