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Oakleaf Hydrangea III

In early July I took a 4-day class with Kristy Kun on botanical printing/dyeing. I got some amazing prints that I am just delving into now. Part of my conundrum was having so many choices. I finally decided to work small and use one of the prints from our last day of work. I share some details on this printing here.

As a refresher, here is the portion of the particular piece that I chose to cut a print from.

I also trimmed off the end of the fabric that was not covered during the immersion in the cochineal dye bath. I will use every scrap of this fabric!

The oakleaf hydrangea is such a beautiful plant. This leaf is 10″ tall and 9″ wide. The crisp print and detail of the veining is just so exciting. Even in this simple state, I love it. The silk noil strip is just 11″ tall so having the gradation of cochineal on weld was perfect for adding some interest. On the right side I placed the beginning of the color change and the bottom has the next few inches which was more openly exposed to the cochineal bath. The bottom right corner is a square to complete the piece. I stabilized the fabric with Pellon featherweight interfacing by arranging the 4 pieces of fabric on top and pressing them into place — I didn’t waste a morsel by piecing it. Click on images to enlarge the view.

I used a hand-dyed pearl cotton thread that I purchased from Elin Noble many years ago. It has a bold weight and presence for this large-veined leaf that I really like.

I couldn’t wait to enhance the markings created by the twine wrap. Simple stitches with cotton embroidery floss worked well for the bottom and a variegated pearl cotton was perfect for the side. Here I am auditioning embroidery floss and 3 different beads.

A good studio assistant is never far from creative activity. Here is Cooper keeping an eye on my progress.

And here is the finished piece. It measures 12 3/4″ x 12 3/4″.

and a detail.

If you are new here, you can see my posts about the botanical printing class here and here, as well as the link above.

Thanks for reading. Please share your comments about this new work — I’d love to hear from you.

Botanical Printing and Natural Dye Part 1

I spent four days in early July with Kristy Kun of Opulent Fibers and three classmates learning about the process of botanical printing and natural dyeing. Kristy spent the week before our class preparing the fabrics with mordant — a substance that prepares the fibers of the fabric to bond with natural dyes — and dye so we were able to hit the decks running from the first day. We produced prints on a variety of fabrics and a good range of natural dye such as logwood, madder, cochineal, weld and chestnut. I am more interested in printing with botanicals than I am in dyeing fabric using plant resources and you’ll see that reflected in the samples I will share here.

Each of us brought our own fabric to use as the iron blanket — fabric dipped in an iron solution or fabric wrapped around some rusted metal– that was used for many of the prints. I was delighted to see that many of the plants I used printed very successfully on the primary fabric as well as the iron blanket. This first sample shows just that. The fabric on the bottom of the photograph is silk noil with chestnut dye. The blanket is cotton fabric dipped in an iron solution. Plants used were sumac (a variety I was not familiar with but what a beautiful leaf! My classmates referred to it as ‘fancy’ sumac.) and peony. Click on photos to reveal a larger view.

Plants here are peony, dogwood and sumac. I can definitely imagine using both the silk and the cotton prints.

The following images are of two panels (two images per panel) of silk noil using plants dipped in iron solution and no iron blanket. Panel one has wild blackberry, maple

hawthorn and oak. I’m very happy with the shadowy effect that was caused by some dripping of the iron solution as I placed the leaves on the fabric.

The second panel has eucalyptus, maple

and sumac. I love the strong colors and crisp edges produced in these samples.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.