I treated myself to Kathy Hays’ Eco Print Workshop (a set of teaching videos to view online) just before Christmas. The images here are some try-outs of Kathy’s basic bundling technique. I used satin silk – a half-metre or so free sample from a supplier from which I recently bought a hefty measure of raw silk (non-satin).
I wouldn’t have bought satin silk, but the results were so beautiful I’ll certainly be working with it in the future. I could hardly believe my eyes when I unwrapped my bundles. The colours, the patterns, the definition in the leaf prints … And the satinised silk gave some of the colours a metallic look – the greys became silvers, the yellows became golds.
The mood, the rhythms …
And I more than half-expected to fail because I largely used leaves picked up locally, rammed hastily into plastic bags and stuck in the freezer.
Look at the definition of the little ochre leaf in the first picture.
In the second picture, the brownish-black leaf print in the middle is from one of a bunch of quite tiny (autumnal) red Acer (Japanese Maple) leaves that had blown from a tree overhanging an access lane to a park.
The large dark brown leaf to the left of the Acer leaf was in fact, a bright yellow leaf from a Plane tree in the neighbourhood. Tons of the leaves had dropped to cloak shrubs and carpet cover for soil.
I also used some dried (very dried) Eucalyptus leaves – a mix of green and red. I didn’t expect to get anything from them at all, but the large pink oval in the top right of the fourth picture is a print from a Eucalyptus leaf. And at top left, is one of the yellow plane tree leaves, complete with stalk. Why one of these leaves dyed brown in one place and yellow in another, is a mystery. But that’s the beauty of eco printing, every bundle is a surprise and a wonder.
I’m delighted with Kathy’s video workshop. These are the best eco prints I’ve achieved so far and this is only following the directions on one of the set of videos. I could have continued blundering around in the dark (and failing) but I reckon I’ve saved myself a lot of time and money. The workshop was well worth the modest fee.
I did adapt Kathy’s basic bundling recipe to include an iron blanket – because I’ve fallen in love with iron blankets – and I wrapped all my sample pieces together in one bundle, but otherwise followed instructions.
What I like also about these pieces is that they are site/location specific and will be developed into works that include other location specific elements.
I’ll include images of the iron blanket in my next blog. The blog after that will be my New Year’s Clarifications (instead of Resolutions) which is subtitled: God Changes His Mind. It’s conceptually complex and so it’s taking a while to perfect. I’m expecting some flack, but … it has to be written.