Unbundling: My Second Batch of Eco Prints, Short Story Writing and Allotmenteering

Frieze Eco Print Front Right 18 November 2014

I’ve been itching for the week to pass so I could open up my second batch of eco print bundles.

The first picture shows half of a long narrow band of the jacket lining fabric (probably cotton) that I used for some of my first eco prints. This time the colour is more pronounced. Again, I bound the bundles with sari silk and the colour has transferred. I also sandwiched in some rusty staple gun staples. I found a whole boxful in the shed that have lain around for a long time and are no longer fit for purpose. The frieze – as I’m calling it – looks like some sort of music notation.

Fan IV Eco Print     Side II 18 November 2014

And here is one of half a dozen bundles I made up from my stash of redundant coffee filter papers.

Fan Eco Print  I      Side II 18 November 2014Here’s another. Again, I’ve included the rusty staples. Red Eucalyptus on Kadhi Paper I Side I 18 November 2014Turn these fans upside down and they become gypsy skirts. I do love these colours immensely.

And just above is a sheet of kadhi paper. This bundle contained red eucalyptus leaves, which have imprinted themselves very cleanly and precisely. The brown in the middle is rust from a rusty bar I wrapped the paper/leaves around.

Fabric Softener Eco Print I     Side I 18 November 2014This is a sheet of used fabric softener. It’s more diaphanous than this in real life. Rusty Bar I     Side II 18 November 2014

I used red and green eucalyptus leaves and flowers and golden rod flowers, bought at a discount from my very kind local florist. And I used a good number of rainbow-coloured leaves fallen from the ornamental cherry in our garden; also, red Acer Palmatum, ivy …

Then I added the rusty staples to the bundles and I wrapped a few bundles round some rusty bars, like the one on the right here. It too has picked up a pattern from the organic material. I think this looks quite Art Nouveau.

I’ve just received some silk chiffon and alum (mordant).  I’m prowling the local antique and charity shops for a copper pan/cauldron as a dye pot. No luck yet, though I did find a copper jelly mould (pineapple-shaped).

Opening up the bundles has all the excitement of unwrapping a gift. Some of the bundles were wrapped round sticks. I was reminded of Native American Indian medicine bundles and came across spirit and prayer sticks; and talking sticks. I found images of spirit sticks that also incorporated dream catchers. They reminded me of shepherds’ crooks and the crooks carried by bishops.  I’ll be looking more deeply into this aspect of bundling.

Creative writing, I’ve discovered, is also about unbundling. It’s very much a case of unwrapping. I wrote four short stories in less than two days last week. It was for a competition. I met my midnight deadline with 10 minutes to go. And it was as if the characters  came to me for me to write down their stories.

And aside from this, I have been doing some serious digging, at our newly acquired allotment, where we will be growing not only fruit and veggies, but, of course, plants and flowers suitable for dyeing. The plot is neglected. It’s a bit like archaeology, an unbundling of what is already there. We’ve been very fortunate with the weather. We’ve managed to prepare two parcels already for the planting of potatoes and brassicas (or is that brassicae), in the spring. There is a wonderful and sturdy shed, complete with veranda. It’s more like a cabin. I have already painted this – spruce green – with some exterior paint leftover from another project. And I’ve used up some cream paint to frame the window.  We took a set of dismantleable shelves that were stored in the loft which I’d painted (washed) – chinese red – and beeswaxed.

It’s nice also to be meeting, online and in real life, new creatives in the eco/botanical dyeing and allotmenteering fields.

What are you unbundling at the moment?


About AnnIsikArts

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8 Responses to Unbundling: My Second Batch of Eco Prints, Short Story Writing and Allotmenteering

  1. Susan says:

    Your ecoprints are beautiful. I am trying to figure out the process. Are you using different fabrics to then found objects, etc. to create these very textural art pieces? I find them beautiful. Makes me want to go try this….but I am not sure I would know how to do it. And your garden….I am eager to hear if you find any treasures. We have found several bits of porcelain dolls from the late 1800’s around where we live. I am hoping for an arrowhead.


    • AnnIsikArts says:

      I’ve huge collections of ‘treasures’ from gardens. I’ve posted some pictures of the stuff I’ve dug out of this one. Here’s the link:

      We’ve just taken on allotment and I’ve started a collection of the bits of china etc I’m digging out of this one.

      Of course, I’m hoping to find a hord of Anglo-Saxon gold or Roman coins and become very wealthy!

      You’re talking to a novice, as far as the eco prints are concerned. I’m just experimenting with whatever cloth/paper I have, and whatever I have in the garden. So far I’ve just soaked the paper/cloth in my steamer, with the leaves and flowers picked from the garden, made tight bundles of these round sticky or rusty iron or nothing, and steamed these for a couple of hours then I’ve left them for a week. I recommend India Flint’s web site and also her book on Eco Printing. But there are many artists on the web and You Tube describing their own methods too. It’s fascinating me and it just seems ‘right’ to make use what is in the world around us, given to us, if you like; and stuff that’s going to be thrown away otherwise, to produce art. 🙂


  2. I’m trying to figure out what detachment means, living it, and yet not be aloof or cold or uncaring. It’s difficult. And am turning a carport into a studio. Hard work. Space I have to work inside is too small.


    • AnnIsikArts says:

      I think detachment isn’t about detaching oneself from feeling, but rather the contrary. Detaching oneself from material desires – the pursuit of – is the thing, which enables the growth of the spirit, which is the eternal/God/whater – brings about greater compassion. Good luck with the new studio. Mine is tiny, an attic – though we’ve just taken on the allotment and I’ve already begun to ‘infiltrate artistically’ into that. 🙂


      • Love chatting. The prints are great and am looking around here what I can use. Do you heat the material at first? In water? Steam?


      • AnnIsikArts says:

        I did the second batch by soaking both leaves etc and paper/cloth in water overnight, then sandwiching the leaves etc, rolling them into tight bundles and binding these with rubber band and sari silk. I steamed them for 2 hours then left the bundles in a glass jar for a week. Some of them I included rusty staples and bars etc. But I strongly suggest checking out India Flint’s site. I’d be really interested to see anything you produced. I was reminded of your paintings when I opened up my ‘Frieze’ print. I could see faces in it!


      • I find that faces are the easiest to recognise in any given artwork, that’s what we’re most familiar with. I was delighted when animals and birds started rocking up in my latest work. There was one bird’s head that nearly overshadowed the entire work and had to work hard to paint it out, even if unwillingly. I’ll check out the site you mentioned. Thanks.


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