"I begin with an idea ... and then it becomes something else"
~ Picasso

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Eco printing and dyeing with leaves on silk

I spent a wonderful afternoon among friends yesterday eco dyeing with Caro Beech at Hayle.  I have "dabbled" with this myself a teensy bit but I found yesterday's workshop invaluable and ... I am hooked!

It is the natural next step on from my experiments with natural dyes and erosion bundles.  Now, I want to combine this latest technique with the way I wrap erosion bundles, play with all the leaves and flowers in my garden and get back to natural dyeing again.

Caro was a most generous tutor and gave us each a box of goodies including very helpful instructions, gloves, water bath, a pot of rusty iron water, metal tube, pins, foil, a piece of habotai silk to practice on and a lovely finished edged silk scarf tied up with a beautiful pink silk ribbon (naturally dyed)

[I'm just writing this next bit to remind myself more than anything ... we soaked the silk in cold water (two thirds) mixed with some of the rusty water (one third).  The longer the fabric is left to soak the darker the colours achieved.  I left my silk pieces for about 15 mins and 30 mins.  Next step - squeeze the excess water from the silk and lay it out flat.  Arrange leaves and fold over the silk.  Use the foil to separate the layers and wrap tightly around the metal pipe.  Tie tightly to secure.  Steam for 45-60 mins.]

The hardest bit is being patient, keeping busy, while the eco roll is steaming away.  You just want to open it up and see what's magically happened to your leaves, what happy accidents have occurred, the alchemy, the serendipity ...

Eventually, you get to open it up ...

I was very happy with the results of my first proper attempt at this.  (I won't tell you about the disaster I had with my very first go a couple of years ago when I burnt through the silk!).  I'm so pleased with the beautiful natural colours of the leaves.

Needless to say, I've started yet another sketchbook about this process and have recorded my initial thoughts and plans.  Now there is a whole new world of eco dyeing and printing to learn about in my own way.  I already belong to several groups on facebook and read about other artists' discoveries, but there is nothing better than getting hands on and discovering for yourself the potential of this, or any, technique ... at one's own pace.

Caro has another workshop later in the year eco dyeing on paper.  If anything, this interests me more and I'm not sure I can wait till then.  I may have a little go myself with plants from my garden.  I've already purloined my kitchen steamer to the studio and literally cannot wait to get wrapping.  I have been admiring (for years!) the beautiful eco dyeing of my friend Monika Lamacka especially her work on paper.  This is what I would like to do too ... to create beautiful papers for use in my collages.  Take a look here at Monika's work and here are a couple of Caro's beautiful samples on paper

I'm off to my studio now ... but I will pop by tomorrow with the next instalment of the Surface Treatment Workshop - embossing.  Bye for now and have a happy week x


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, Carolyn, for the mention. Your prints are beautiful and I am looking forward to see how you are going to incorporate them in your work! Much love, m.

DILOU said...

C'est superbe!! on ne cesse jamais d'apprendre de nouvelles choses. Quel plaisir.
Bonjour de Paris

Zsuzsa Karoly-Smith said...

Fantastic results! Never heard of this technique - must look into it!

Lynne Porter said...

these look fantastic. I've never heard of using 'rust water', do you just soak rusty objects in water to get it?
I'm looking forward to seeing your experiments on paper

Evelyn said...

Lovely STW samples - I'm still working on mine will post soon...! Also lovely eco dying samples - lovely colours and patterns....

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Ouch. I think I hurt my jaw when it dropped open so fast! How many ways can one say 'wow'???? I'm most intrigued by the steaming aspect - so much quicker than the 'bury in the garden' bundles that take weeks to brew.