Blooming Eco-plants & Project Deux

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!

Lily of the valley plant in bloom
Japanese maple looking very much 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).

Wild rosebushes (left) and golden barberry (right)
Japanese (false) indigo plant just sprouting (dark green, center)

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.

Project Deux
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Eco-printing with Leaves in a Pomegranate Dye Pot

So many beautiful summer plants and flowers, so many possibilities for botanical printing!  With my coreopsis in full bloom and a surprise gift of smokebush leaves from a Texan friend, I fired up the dye pot (turned on the gas stove) to experiment with a different kind of dye bath.  Usually I use plain water to allow the plants to bring their own beauty to cloth, but this time I used pomegranate powder with a pinch of iron.

First I arranged a sandwich of cotton sheeting, homespun linen scrap, and a couple of small card stocks.  Wrapped in a square, it was clamped and set in the dye pot.

I  also rolled up a couple of copper pipes with various vintage linens and cloth scraps, using a few coreopsis and pink cosmos flowers, along with rose leaves.  I threw in a couple of smokebush leaves for good measure, rolled with cotton string and added to the dye pot.

After boiling for an hour and letting sit overnight on my deck, I unrolled the next morning to find a variety of effects.  I’m already thinking of the fun I will have with my next brew!

Full view coreopsis and rose leaves on cotton sheeting, eco-print clamped
Full view coreopsis and rose leaves on cotton sheeting, eco-print clamped
Smokebush and rose leaves on card stock
Smokebush and rose leaves on card stock
Coreopsis and rose leaf eco-printed on cotton sheeting
Coreopsis and rose leaf eco-printed on cotton sheeting
Wild rose leaves, coreopsis and cosmos on vintage buck towel
Wild rose leaves, coreopsis and cosmos on vintage cotton Huck towel
Eco-printed cotton sheeting in pomegranate and iron bath
Eco-printed cotton sheeting in pomegranate and iron bath