Botanical Printing and Natural Dye Part 4

A study group is a wonderful thing.  Since taking a class on botanical printing/dyeing in July, I’ve met several times with the ladies who were in the class with me to continue learning and experimenting. Our most recent gathering took place yesterday morning. Our hostess had a pot of marigolds on a slow simmer. Goodness but it smelled good enough to eat! I’m certainly glad we didn’t though, because I got a beautiful print from it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My goal for the day was to get at least one long piece of fabric printed using eucalyptus and print more cards. I found a nice bunch of eucalyptus — with flower buds and flowers galore — at the local grocery store. A lovely feature of this species is that the stems are thin and flexible which means that they are easily rolled up in the fabric around the poll. I used quite a few stems, shared them with my friends and still had enough to bring home for the vase.

I used cotton fabric 18″ wide by 45″ long. This size allowed me to lay down full branches without too much fussing. The fabric was wider that the pole so I folded it over the leaves. Instead of steaming the bundle to create the print, this bundle went into the vat of marigold flowers and simmered for about an hour and a half. I like the drama created by that fold on the right side. And I am delighted with the crisp prints that I got of the leaves and stems and the incredible rich yellow and gold colors from the marigolds. Click on images for a larger view.

Here’s a detail image.

The note cards were also a success. I used a silk scarf for the iron blanket on the cards — half of the scarf was pale green, the other half was brown. I am thrilled with the prints on both the cotton paper and the silk fabric. Here are the cards that had a light green silk blanket. Note: the bottom right card had a cotton fabric iron blanket.

Here is the second group of cards:

I can see using every scrap of these fabrics!



7 replies
  1. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    Hi, this was fun to read ! Yesterday I said that you had simmered in Madder but looking at the photo on part 3 I think I am wrong and you were right, it really looks like Cochineal in the photo. However I am sure that mine was Madder. She must’ve offered both.

    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      Thanks for stopping by. No worries. We have what we have. And, as you know, the piece we’re talking about is nearly completely used at this point.

  2. Christy
    Christy says:

    I used paperbark (eucalyptus species in Hawaii) to make cards. It is just a stand-out plant for so many reasons. Have fun with your cards.

    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      So many plants. . . so many possibilities! The cards are great fun and I also love the second print on the silk.

    • Franki Kohler
      Franki Kohler says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I think I should dead head some blooms in local gardens to get a jump on next year.

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