nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

an attempt at ecoprinting

with 6 comments


After our drive to Canterbury over the weekend, I was anxious to capture some of the roadside flower colour in my ‘harvesting colour’ experiments.  I decided to try a technique described by India Flint in her book Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles (Interweave Press, 2010).  ‘Ecoprinting’ involves bringing a plant into close contact with a fabric  in order to transfer the colour to the cloth.  I am very impressed with the effects shown in Eco Colour – prints of leaves, flowers and berries.

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For my experiment I tried a handful of the Forget-me-nots I collected on our weekend drive …

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Forget-me-nots in the woods

Forget-me-nots in the woods

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a bundle of the purple Lupins growing along the road in my community …

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Lupins along the road

Lupins along the road

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and a bunch of a ground cover plant growing in my yard, Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) …

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Bugleweed in the orchard

Bugleweed in the orchard

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basket of Bugleweed

basket of Bugleweed

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I only used small samples of cloth … my idea is to use these ‘patches’ to make a little quilt to show the results of my ‘colour harvest’.  I arranged a few of the flowers, both petals and leaves, inside the cloth  …

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Forget-me-nots on cotton

Forget-me-nots on cotton

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Lupin petals and leaves on cotton

Lupin petals and leaves on cotton

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Bugleweed on cotton

Bugleweed on cotton

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Then I folded the cloth in half, enclosing the flowers like a sandwich …

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flowers folded in cotton

flowers folded in cotton

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and rolled the cloth up tightly …

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rolling the bundle tightly

rolling the bundle tightly

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and tied it with cotton thread …

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flower and cotton bundles

flower and cotton bundles

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I put my bundles in a wire basket and steamed them for an hour …

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flower and cotton bundles steaming  (as usual I have thrown in a bit of woods and sky)

flower and cotton bundles steaming (as usual I have thrown in a bit of woods and sky)

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After cooling, I opened the bundles, discarded the leaves and flowers, and rinsed the cloth.  I was quite pleased with the results.  After ironing, I have a pale array of colour.  The Bugleweed left a definite lime green.  The Lupin a more indefinite green and pale violet.  The Forget-me-nots left a faint violet-grey.

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pale colour

pale colour

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I did not get the flower and leaf impressions I expected, but I will keep trying.  There are so many variables, steaming time and ‘unbundling’ time among them.  I do hope to see that lovely lime green again!!!

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 20, 2014 at 7:17 am

6 Responses

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  1. What an interesting process- hope it goes better next time!

    Like

    Watching Seasons

    June 22, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    • Hi. I’m going to keep trying. I will try Oak leaves next and I will try to be patient, keeping the leaves and fabric bundled for a decent length of time. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      June 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm

  2. I just can’t tell you how fascinating I find these posts about harvesting colour from the landscape – brilliant.

    Like

    francisguenette

    June 20, 2014 at 7:28 pm

  3. Very interesting! I’ve been wanting to experiment with this for awhile now, I think it’s time I did. I’ll have to see if I can track that book down as well, thanks for mentioning it as an additional reference.

    Like

    Sheryl @ Flowery Prose

    June 20, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    • Hi. It is a great book, a classic. There are others on the market too, in particular ‘Wild Color’ by Jenny Dean. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      June 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm


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