Saturday, August 15, 2015

summer romance

who doesn't love a good old-fashioned summer romance?

here's the story of mine...

the last half of august is upon us and i'm trying to grab hold of these few remaining golden days...

 change is in the air, plants both in and out of the garden are maturing, and i'm trying out some new preservation techniques

a while back, in june i think, i made a note of a few things i wanted to make sure i did this summer... eco-printing on fabric and paper was one of those things

the other day realization dawned that the window of opportunity was rapidly narrowing and so i spent a happy afternoon immersed in the process

gathering plants from only our yard, i laid a variety out on a small length of silk habotai

you can see here just how light this fabric is - perhaps a little too light, but as i am an experimenter, i went with it

wrapping all this tightly around a wooden dowel proved to be a challenge - the silk being so flimsy and slippery

  finally it was all well secured with a length of kitchen twine

this spent an hour in a boiling dye-bath of rusty metal, pinecones and three chamomile tea bags, and then sat in it for several hours

 i left it to dry overnight, which really didn't take all that many hours as it was a fairly small bundle, and the silk being so light...

the first patterning revealed was created by the string wrapping - love it

if this was all that i'd gotten i would have been thrilled, but there was more still to be seen

if you look carefully in the grooves of the photo below it almost looks like there is stitching there - must be something to do with the compression of the string?

the yellow colour comes from marigolds, purpose grown

 excavating the plant material...

the sage leaves printed rather well, i thought, and i think if i used a sturdier silk they would do even better

rose leaves also were a success

the green leaf transferred a rosy beige hue along with the green, which i thought delightful

i have a nice little stack of various types of silk and wool ready to go for the next dye-pot, hopefully on tuesday - i think i could get addicted to this, the experimental nature of eco-print dyeing, along with the surprise when all is revealed

and with the rudiments of knowledge in place, i turned my attention to paper

this time i went for a walk in the neighbourhood to find some different plants

i have a nifty gathering basket, bought many years ago - it has a small hole in the top for pushing plants through, and the basket, while allowing air through, keeps sunlight off the plants, and hours later they weren't wilted at all

i gathered what looked interesting, not what i knew to be successful
{my knowledge hasn't gone that far yet!}

the mr. cut me two small blocks of wood and provided three sturdy clamps before he went off to hockey

i folded and tore various bits of watercolour paper, selecting both hot and cold-press, as well as some good-quality artist's paper purchased in the art supply store in stowe-on-the-wold in the cotswolds two years ago

stacking and compressing, and stacking and compressing some more, i finally had it ready to go into the dye-pot 
{same dye-pot as the silk was in}

boil for 20 minutes, let it cool in the pot and then open it up before it's dry

tweezers and butter knife were the tools to excavate with

if i was happy with the fabric, the paper put me over the moon

some sheets were done flat, whereas others were folded

above you can see the print on the right and the leaf still stuck on the left - they actually peeled off rather easily, except for some of the thinner ones - they kind of disintegrated

i had the idea to separate things on some of the folded cards with parchment paper - i didn't read about it anywhere as a suggestion for controlling what prints where, but thought why not try it???

that's the true beauty of not being attached to the outcome - you try things and risk failure

it didn't fail though - it worked beautifully

below you can see the parchment on the right

 and this is how the paper looked after all plant material was removed - each side of the folded card is different, yet it was folded when put in the pot - cool huh?

the rose leaves printed very brown here

the wonderful, amazing thing that i didn't expect was the embossing effect the plant material had on the softer drawing paper

beautiful, strong impressions

the drawing paper and the hot-pressed 140 lb watercolour paper were my favourites

below is the cold-pressed watercolour paper sample - it came out rough, with very little relief-texture

but perfect for experimenting with stitch!

i'm using hand-dyed silk ribbon and cosmo embroidery thread, simple running stitches, and japanese leaf stitch

many years ago up north a few people in our quilting group, including me, experimented with sun-printing plants on fabric using sun-sensitive paints

it was great fun; you could mess about with mixing paints, varying plant material and so on, but after a while i couldn't get the paints as easily and it made a big mess

eco-print dyeing has a much greater appeal to me - it's natural, and the plants can work in either one or two ways - the combinations are endless and results are far more spontaneous

 i think i've found a new love!


Createology said...

Summer Sunshine, Play Time and Creative Bliss at its finest my friend. I Love your results on the silk and especially on the papers. I can just see you "skipping" through the neighborhood with your basket gathering your new art medium bits of nature's finest. JOY to you...

Magpie's Mumblings said...

What fun tor read about your process and see your results. I've heard of boiling fabric, but never paper, so that was a learning moment for me. I've toyed with the flower pounding, but the neighbours would probably tote me off to the nearest looney bin (one of the definite drawbacks to apartment life!).

gracie said...

How very interesting

oldgreymareprimitives said...

what fun- keep going!

deanna7trees said...

i'd say you were very successful. the silk habotai is my favorite cloth for eco-dyeing. couldn't tell from the picture if you wet your silk before bundling. if the cloth is thoroughly wet, it is easier to make a tight bundle. i love the string marks and i tend to cover the whole bundle with string to get more markings and also to make the contact better between the cloth and the leaves. some other fun things to try is to sprinkle just a bit of turmeric on the cloth (sparingly) and some bits of steel wool. the iron content acts as a mordant and will give you more leaf definition. can't wait to see more of your experiments. i love that every bundle is a surprise. you never know what you'll get. have fun.

Deb~Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

Beautiful results Jillayne ,you have captured summer delightfully with your wonderful experiments!

Rachel said...

What a wonderful range of effects! I see more experiments in your future!

Dorthe said...

Dear Jillayne, this is all so beautiful to see, what wonderful outcome you have had, so interesting too, and must have been a wonderful day for you. I love it all ,have tried it with not the same succes as you, but also did not use dowel and wood to run it aorund or press it inside, I will have to make another try!!
Thank you for showing and telling so lovely ,this was a wonderful post!!!
Happy sunday to you from Dorthe

CelestinaMarie@SouthernDayDreams said...

Hi Jillayne, you are incredible and these results turned out amazing. The details in nature are stunning and truly you were lead to put art to the natural elements of life.
Thank you for sharing. So nice to catch up with you this morning. I've been away from my computer and this is a great way to start a new week visiting you.
Blessings, cm

Nat Palaskas said...

Happy first try on eco-dye! You will get addicted to dyeing! So be warned! Trial and error is the key for my dyeing experience! Do you mind if I add your blog to my blog roll? Hugs Nat

Christine B said...

I can feel your joy in your's wonderful when that happens isn't it? I felt like that when I discovered rust dyeing. Keep going with are producing some wonderful results. I wonder what you will do with all the lovely papers and fabrics when your stash has grown. So many exciting. Even just to have them to enjoy as they are might be enough.

karen said...

you know how I love a wrapped bundle, they always make my tummy flip. I have to say that your plant images here are fantastic...great photography Jillayne.

Marguerite (Tina) Smith Hart said...

I should have checked this post out before I left a comment on your most recent post, as my question was answered! I love this! I had seen this done on a craft show years ago and couldn't remember all the steps so thank you for your detailed post. Have a great day Jillayne!
Tina xo

Laura said...

When I saw the very first picture, I immediately remembered sun printing, haha. You were all very nice to let us kids join in on that, although I'm guessing it was self serving because it kept us out of your hair!! Next time use fireweed ;)