Posts

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 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 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.