6.11.09

Eco Printing

Thank you to all who commented on the giveaway post so far. I'm enjoying your tips for interesting books and magazines! The book I mentioned buying already cropped up in a comment from Pamela Anne - it's Eco Colour by India Flint.

I'm impressed and inspired by the book's beautiful design, the wealth of information and most of all the innovative and open-minded approach to natural dyeing. As an example - instead of invariably striving for the fastest colour, the author says:
Not all colours will be substantive but they will be unique! One could have a garment that changed with the seasons, in which stains are considered the pre-mordant for another colour. The whole could be progressively patched or embellished, a palimpsest in the form of an ever-changing garment.

It's as if you stop fighting the material into submission and instead observe, accept and work with its inherent qualities...

Because it's autumn and there are mountains of colourful leaves everywhere, I had to have a go at India Flint's signature technique - eco printing.

So far I've tried the method that involves steaming the plant material wrapped in fabric. It not only creates attractive prints but is a neat way to discover if the plant has dyeing potential and what colour it might give.

leaves

leaves print

In the first bundle I used very fine silk and the bonus of that was the 3D detail of the veins that got steamed into the fabric.

3D

Below is my second attempt on heavier repurposed silks. I was surprised by the purple! My guess is that at least one of the fabrics had been machine washed and the dye reacted with traces of the detergent.

second bundle

detail

The last picture shows my favourite detail. I like the places where the leaves overlapped (dye seeped in from another layer of the bundle) and at the very bottom where the small fern leaves (too dry to impart colour themselves) acted as a resist.

detail

12 comments:

Diva Quilts said...

those last two are incredibly beautiful!

I've been thinking about learning how to dye fabrics, but then think - "Why? When I can purchase it from other artisans!" ;)

Jenny said...

This is lovely to read about as I have just been given this book as a lovely present. As yet I haven't experimented, but seeing your photos has inspired me to go out collecting leaves.I often find I put off the first experiment but once I do it, I can't stop.

Lisa at Lil Fish Studios said...

Beautiful results, and the details make the process incredibly special. Thanks for sharing it.

Brittany Noel said...

I love that approach to natural dyeing. Too often, we are overly concerned with making things work just as we want them too. Not all things work that way, and this is a perfect example of what to do with those things: collaborate!

These beautiful leaf prints remind me of the experiment that I did with paint and leaves for my pattern design class. I don't think I even uploaded those photos but I think I will now!

kirsten said...

this is fantastic! i must search out this book - a wonderful concept. thank you for drawing it to my attention.

Little Brown Sparrow said...

Beautiful results! I only just managed to get my hands on this book (my mother works at the library and she reserved it for me) and wow is it great! I'm asking the santa fairy for a copy.

Eva said...

Thanks for the comments! Good to hear from others who like the book. I couldn't find it in the library and have never seen inside so the content and the beautiful design took me by surprise...

iNdi@ said...

thank you for the kindly mention!
and i think you're on the mark about pre-washed fabrics being 'pre-mordanted' by the alkali of the detergent

try beating a red rose-petal into an old linen shirt. turns blue before your very eyes due i think, to the presence of sodium carbonate in [almost] every detergent

best wishes
india

The crafty Kaeru said...

I love the idea of the colour of a garment changing with the seasons... like an animal's coat!

fionachapman said...

This is so interesting, and the results are beautiful.

Eva said...

India - thank you for the visit and the tip about rose petals! Will definitely try that next time I find a rose...

jude said...

i have been so excited by her book. it is good to watch your experiments....