I think it must happen to us all eventually. Well all textile artists.
Experimenting with eco-printing/dying.
I have been very inspired by blogs such as http://wendiofthetreasure.com, http://clasheen.wordpress.com/ and http://terriekwong.blogspot.com.au/ which I have been following with a bemusement that comes from reading about a topic I have no familiarity with at all beyond hand dying out of a packet. Which just confirms the absolutely no familiarity since eco-printing is about using what we find in nature to dye our fabrics.
Surrounded by native Australian flora in the sub-tropical environment of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland (at the foot of one of the Glasshouse Mountains), I’ve been longing to dip my toe in the water of the dye pot as it were and have a go, but I haven’t been confident enough nor have I had any mordants such as Alum to hand.
This afternoon after a pleasant day at the Glasshouse Market, where I displayed my latest hand-dyed silk and nuno felted scarves, I came home and spent some time relaxing in front of my pc, glass of chilled white wine in hand, scrolling through the Reader for interesting blogs.
Once again, my attention was drawn to the latest blogging about eco-dying and printing.
“Right, that’s it. Today’s the day. I’ve only got vinegar, but that’s today’s mordant. Tomorrow I’ll get some alum.”
I put down the wine – reluctantly, as it was very nice and cool and the afternoon was hot and steamy in anticipation of a storm. Picking up the first plastic bowl I put my hand on, I exited the front of the house, marched down the drive and aimed at the eucalypts as these seem to consistently bring good results from what I’ve read. Plus my house is surrounded by them. Returning with large and small eucalypt leaves (don’t ask me which species), and some lovely dark reddish-brown eucalypt bark, I set to making my first bundle.
As for the rest of the dying experiment, here is a short slide show covering the main steps using one of my new hemmed silk scarves:
And here’s the finished result. Isn’t it fantastic!
Next step – source some Alum. I’ll try the local chemist first.
Then the sky’s the limit. Or should I say, the garden’s the limit!