The Colorado summer has kept me from the computer for awhile! But I have been busy natural dyeing silk fabric. My idea of summer fun is to try out natural dye plants from my area. Or to try discovering new ones! This summer’s great adventure was experimenting with eco-printing, in the style of India Flint. I am far from an expert in it yet, but I learn something with every try.
Bundles of silk fabric tied around sticks or pieces of rusty iron or copper pipe, after boiling. This fabric was pre-mordanted with alum, and soaked in vinegar for about an hour before boiling in a water/vinegar bath. The leaves made their own dye bath, making everything dark green on the outside of the fabric.
After boiling, and opening the bundle, the soggy leaves need to be peeled off the silk fabric.
At first I was disappointed at the faintness of many of the leaf prints, but I’ve grown to love these ghosts of leaves past.” The spirit of this maple leaf was captured on silk by eco-printing magic.
Various colors from iron. Whatever leaves were in the bundle influenced the color. The rusty chunk of iron made very orange color at first, but makes black now that I’ve boiled it several times. I don’t know why the change. Any ideas?
A bundle of silk fabric with leaves and turmeric powder, ready to boil for eco printing.
The resulting fabric. The black dots are from honeysuckle blossoms and turmeric made the yellow color all over. Any leaf prints are very subtle on this one. It’s mostly about the wash of color.
This bundle was tyed around an elm sitck, and left in a black plastic bag in the Colorado sun for three days, soaking in vinegar. There was one bundle in the bag with iron at the core, and the color bleeding out from that “saddened” any fabric which touched it. The color was more intense with solar than with boiling,. But that long in vinegar was too harsh for the delicate silk, and it ate tiny holes in places where the fabric was folded.
Unwrapping the solar dyed bundle.
Eco printed paper, using iron dipped leaves pressed against tea-washed paper, and left in the sun for three days. It was starting to smell pretty funky.
If you’re interested in learning more about this technique, click on the picture below. India Flint was the pioneer of this technique, and her book is still one of the best out there.
Other pages you might be interested in:
Dyeing with Bloodroot
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