My eco-plants are blooming, which is making me very pleased and excited for the coming season of eco-printing and natural dyeing. Some of these plants are newish–just planted last autumn–so they have not been tested yet. Primarily I am talking about the Japanese maple tree and lily of the valley, both of which appeared to be dying last winter. But they are alive!
I know that the Japanese maple leaf will probably print well, as friends gave me samples last “printing” season. I’m unsure what can be done with the lily of the valley, but I really planted it because I have fond memories of collecting these for the May Queen (Catholic grade school).
And then there are last year’s proven eco-printers: wild rose, golden barberry and false indigo (turns yellow instead of blue).
And one last note: I have been working on slow-stitching Project Deux, which started out as our planetary system but which is now evolving in a different way. Stay tuned.
Small annual and perennial garden flowers are blooming, and I couldn’t resist snipping a few, along with some leaves, for natural dyeing. The flowers fade quickly, so the decision is whether to leave them alone to die or to clip a few and dye.
So I grabbed a few pansies, coreopsis and cosmos along with a few geranium leaves, false indigo leaves, and some golden barberry. I used avocado pits and skins in the dye-pot and let them simmer for a couple of hours. I was looking for a little color booster in addition to the colors I would achieve by simmering the plants on fiber.
In this experiment, I used bundled silk gauze and cotton sheeting as a sandwich with leaves and flowers as the filling. I rolled it all around a small copper pipe, tied it with string and set it in the dye-pot. Then I clamped a square bundle of cotton sheeting with plants in-between, and handmade paper as well. Finally, I layered small torn pieces of a previously dyed large piece of Fabriano paper with small plant bits.
Bundles of paper and cloth were left to simmer in the avocado dye-pot for a couple of hours, then allowed to rest overnight. The paper turned out fairly waterlogged and did not achieve a great deal of color. However, I was very pleased with the silk & cotton sandwich. Some of those bright colors you see were golden correopsis, pink cosmos and leaves, along with a pinky tinge from the avocado liquid.
I get the biggest thrill when unrolling the bundled packages! You really should try this.