Botanical Printing and Natural Dye Part 3

After several days of printing with the larger pieces of fabric, Kristy brought out note cards for us. What a great bonus! Here is my first bundle of 5 note cards ready for a bath in cochineal.

And here are the iron  blankets and the cards.  Again, so fun to have two prints in this process. I am thrilled with the detail on these prints, with both the paper and the cotton cloth.

Each of us did our best to bring fresh cuts of plant samples for the days’ printing. My fellow students and Kristy all had access to much more than I did so I was very grateful for their contributions. Not only did I get some great prints but I also learned about more plants.

Back to more experimentation. I was specifically interested in the ability to print using dogwood with the flower. I also brought a bright yellow-green linen from my stash and used that for my iron blanket.  The green was much softened by the iron bath. I have taken two photographs of this length of fabric. In the photo below, the first two prints are of dogwood. In the first print I had removed the large node from the center of the flower, placing the petals in the right locations. I did not remove the flower node in the second print. I am actually happy with both prints. The lavender, yellow and grey colors on the silk noil are simply wonderful. I dipped the botanical specimens in iron water and used the linen fabric also dipped in iron water. The last leaf is an oakleaf hydrangea.

I am over-the-top happy with the second half of this experiment. The cedar is beautiful, detailed and, frankly, better looking that this image reveals. The print on both fabrics is completely usable. The wild blackberry leaf and dogwood spray also printed beautifully.

The next three images are of one piece of silk noil fabric dyed with weld. All of the botanical specimens were dipped in iron and placed on the fabric. The end of the fabric (here, the right end of the first photo) was left exposed. No iron blanket was used. The bundle was submerged in a cochineal bath.

I am thrilled with the subtle, detailed prints in all the leaf samples. I went for large leaves in the experiment and the reward was far more than anticipated. The fabric is 11″ wide.

I will be using every scrap of this fabric!

I was so much ‘in the moment,’ focused on each step and being accurate with my notes, that I forgot too often about taking photographs. I kept my wits about me here though. This is a white silk scarf with plants dipped in an iron solution and the linen fabric (you can see the original color here) also dipped in iron solution. Half of the scarf here

and the other half. The iron blanket was then placed on top and the sandwich was rolled and tied.

Here is how the bundles looked when they were ready to be steamed or boiled. My initial is on the label as well a the time that it went to be processed.

And here are the results. Again, the linen iron blanket was softened by the iron.

The colors, detail and outline of the leaves are crisp and wonderful.

On our last day of class I couldn’t resist bundling another bunch of small leaves with the note card paper. They are so charming.

The four of us in the class will be gathering next month at Katherine’s home to do more printing. I plan to take prepared cotton fabric. I can’t wait!

If you missed my first two posts on this class you can find them here and here.

Botanical Printing and Natural Dye Part 2

If you missed my first installment sharing the results of a 4-day class on Botanical Printing and Natural Dye, just click here to be all caught up. A reminder that I am not showing everything I did in this class, just the pieces that I found the most exciting and that I can see using in future art pieces.

The example below, shown in two images, was one piece of silk noil fabric with half of the piece being covered in an iron-dipped cotton cloth. I love the results on both halves. The first photograph is the side with the iron blanket. The prints of the leaves are sharp, though the pigment transfer did not highlight veins of the leaves, except in the far right leaf.  I really like the subtle color background on this fabric — it’s uneven and has a dreamy, quiet feel. The iron blanket prints were unsatisfactory so I won’t show it here.

The leaves on this side of the fabric were dipped in an iron solution. The veins are well defined in these prints. The colors that came from the leaves varied — there is brown, gray, black, yellow and violet here! A wonderful mix that has great possibility! Again, I have some splotching where the iron solution dripped from the leaves while they were being placed on the fabric. This is one yummy piece of fabric!

I almost passed on the opportunity to print with this next fabric, a silk jersey dyed with logwood. This is not a fabric I would ever choose to work with. It slips and slides just looking at it. But boy, am I ever glad I did! The prints that I got are incredibly clear on both the silk and the cotton that was dipped in iron solution. Thank you, Kristy, for that gentle nudge in the right direction.

I’ve taken two images of this piece of fabric to better show the prints. I love the sharpness of the prints, the variety of colors and the bonus of having two great images of each leaf. I will stabilize the jersey fabric with Pellon Shirt Taylor before I incorporate it in my work.

Stay tuned for part three. I think you’ll discover some nice surprises.



Olive Hyde Gallery Exhibit

Seven of my pieces have been accepted for the 46th Annual Textile Exhibition at the Olive Hyde Gallery in Fremont, California. I’ve had my work at this gallery in the past, but not with so few artists — six artists have work in this exhibit.

My five Sunflower Scrap pieces, Woodwardia Wonder and Oakleaf Hydrangea II will be there.

OakleafHydrangea-II_FullHere are the particulars:

46th Annual Textile Exhibition

March 28 – April 27, 2014

Olive Hyde Gallery

123 Washington Blvd., Fremont, CA

Opening Artist Reception: Friday, March 28, 7 – 9 p.m.

Oakleaf Hydrangea II

I fussed and dithered and tried like crazy to use a couple of the fabrics I had pulled out for this project but in the end I edited down to just a few that really worked. I have to stop treating my audition fabrics like my dinner plate — I do not have to use every fabric that starts out as a possibility!

I’m very pleased that the silk deconstructed screen print fabric found a home here. It so nicely echoes the deconstruction of one of the oakleaf hydrangea leaves. And the Ghana wax batik mimics the blossom.

Franki Kohler, Top done

The copper and blue fabric — another ‘find’ while cleaning up my stash — is a hand-painted fat quarter. Straightening my stash continues to reap big rewards! And I was happy to find that some of the fabric I painted in Lonni Rossi’s surface design class worked well at the top — that’s linen painted with Setacolor opaque.

This piece really speaks to me of the earth and the cycles of nature — fresh and fading.

Back to a Cyanotype Print

It’s time to start something new. I’m auditioning fabrics for possible use with a cyanotype print I did last year.

Franki Kohler, Auditioning fabric

I shared the original printing of the oakleaf hydrangea here and the learning experience that came shortly after here. There is only one commercial fabric in what I pulled (fabrics on the right). Most have been created by me; the remaining are hand made by other fabric artists. I don’t have a specific plan right now — I’ll just have to start putting fabric on the wall and see what happens.


The leaves in the garden beckoned me so I pulled out some of my prepared fabrics from Blueprints on Fabric and created a few prints. I used a small clipping from Jennifer’s oakleaf hydrangea and a cluster of dried flowers from the same plant. A spot of water on the fabric created the large blotch on the leaf bottom, right so I’m not thrilled about investing a lot of time and energy on this print.

I noticed the blotch right away so I quickly placed the leaves and flowers on another piece of fabric and created this print.

This is a much more satisfying print. I like the shape of the leaves and the blossoms print beautifully.

But how about something as mundane as flat leaf parsley? I love the bold leaf on that frail-looking stem. I feel like I can’t go wrong with this process — and it’s just plain fun.

When it stops being fun I’ll stop doing it. Meanwhile, I have some epazote that is calling me. Stay tuned.

Ribbon Excitement!

I’m thrilled! The three quilts accepted for the Best of the Valley 2012 show each earned a ribbon. Precious Metals received 1st Place honors in the Mini Quilts, Art category.  Oakleaf Hydrangea was pinned with a 3rd Place ribbon and Fall Ginkgos was recognized with an Honorable Mention ribbon.  These are the first ribbons my work has received. I can’t wipe the smile from my face.

Best of the Valley Quilt Show

Oakleaf Hydrangea, Fall Ginkgos and Precious Metals were juried into this year’s The Best of the Valley show which opens tomorrow, Friday, April 13, in Lindsay, CA. I am always thrilled to have my work accepted by judges who are seeing art works from some of the best in the art quilt community. Acceptance is prize enough — no cash prize or ribbon is necessary.

If you’re in the area, or you just want to take a ride, stop by the McDermont Field house in Lindsay and take in the show.