… is all that matters here!

A few days ago, I experimented dyeing an old tee shirt and cotton scarf which had not been mordanted, but had been washed. I used turmeric and paprika powders from my cupboard and eco-printed with Eucalyptus cinerea leaves dipped in iron water.

After boiling for 2 hours the result was bright yellow turmeric areas, with smudgy black leafy areas.  I dried them but wasn’t really happy with them. I just don’t like the colours! They’re too garish. I didn’t really think it through but just grabbed what I had in the pantry!

Yellow Tee shirt yellow scarf

Undeterred, and not liking to waste a good under-painting, I washed them and dipped in milk/water mordant then dried again.

Today after dipping in water/milk again, I laid out a heap of Eucalyptus leaves from my garden and Eucalyptus cinerea that had been soaking in water with a bit of vinegar.

Yellow tee with leavesThen they got bundled up and as I write they’re still boiling in a bath of water stocked with more eucalyptus leaves and bark.

bundle Tee bundle with bands

There was space in the top of the pot to place an upturned colander, so I bundled up some more paper and leaves (just Eucalyptus leaves this time) and stashed them on there. I covered the pot with al-foil, and secured it with string to keep the steam in.

After a couple of hours or so, I’ll take them all out and leave the cloth as long as I can before opening them.  Good luck with that Madame Impatience!

Leaves of paper

Bold and beautiful leaf prints.

Bold and beautiful leaf prints.

My beautiful girlfriend’s birthday is tomorrow and I made her some leaf eco printed paper to take on her mini holiday. She loves journals and paper and this was a great opportunity to combine my passion for eco prints with giving a gift to a friend.

It is the first time I have done this on paper and I was happy with the result. I think she liked them too.

Bold leaf prints on thick watercolour paper.

Here are some pics of the project.

300gsm paper soaking.

300gsm paper soaking.

Layout of one sheet with eucalypt and onion skin.

Layout of one sheet with eucalypt and onion skin.

Getting ready to steam the bundle.

Getting ready to steam the bundle.

Leafy leaves of paper!

Leafy leaves of paper!

Paper wrapped to give away.

Paper wrapped to give away.

Blue bundlesOoh, what’s in the bundles?  They’re blue and tightly wrapped.  There’s a bit of brown showing through too …

On Monday, I spent the day catching up on unfinished business.  The business of eco-dyeing.  I’ve had such a sparse time of it over the last few months because of work commitments that I was pretty damn stir crazy by the time I’d gathered my leaves and excitedly brought home my first bunch of Eucalyptus Cinerea from the florists.

The other leaves were collected from my driveway and garden, blown roughly to the ground by cyclone Marcia that made her way through our town a couple of weeks ago.  Luckily, Marcia had spent her energy except for gallons of rain that she dumped on us on her way down from Yepoon where she’d crossed from the ocean to the land.

Our normally fairly dry creek burst its banks due to the constant downpour and king tides that had something to do with keeping the river backed up with water for a day or two.  Here’s one of the local road on the first morning …

159

As you can imagine, lots of children were hugely disappointed at not being able to attend school – along with adults who also couldn’t make work because the roads were cut off…

Disappointed.  Sure.  *Smiles*.

Anyway, while cyclone Marcia brought devastation to homes and crops north of here, along with flooding to the south, she did kindly provide me with windfall leaves that I eagerly collected for my dye pot.

I had two second-hand cotton tee shirts that I’d pre-mordanted a few months ago and kept until I had the time to dye them.

Sunday was that day.

I was so eager to get the bundles into the pot that I forgot to photograph the layout of the leaves.  Sorry about that.

Anyhow, here’s the reveal, with a selection of photos. I love the shade of blue imparted by the natural Aquarelle botanic liquid dye.

After they’d dried, I rinsed them in water to wash off remnants of leaves and mordant.  Then ironed them.  Then hung them out to dry.  They have lost some of their depth of colour, but I have to say, I really love them and am pleased at how they’ve turned out.

I also now have two eco-dyed silk scarves using the same eco colour palette.  Here they are side by side.  What do you think?

Two blue scarves with eucI love the tie die lines from the bundling string on the bottom scarf.  I also love the depth of colour from the leaves on the other scarf.

My next project was two un-mordanted cotton items that I stuffed with leaves, tied and boiled in turmeric water.  That produced an interesting result. But more on that next blog post.

After about a year of drought in the creative department, I am happy to say I feel a sense of surge of passion for dyeing and felting again!  Here is a sneak peek of two eco-dyeing projects from yesterday. They’re still drying and will be washed and re-dryed to make sure there’s no mordant left before wearing, but I wanted to show you the results.

I used saved onion skins and various eucalyptus leaves from my garden.

This one is the silk scarf, still wet and just unbundled. The reds of the onion skins are showing well!

This one is the silk scarf, still wet and just unbundled. The reds of the onion skins are showing well!

Tee shirt onion and euc

This one is a close up of the tee shirt – showing how well the eucalyptus leaves and onion skins have developed. I also love how there are dark patches with white lines, from the string I tied the bundle with!

Eco Dyed Australian merino wool and silks

Hand Eco Dyed Australian Merino and Silks.

I have been very slack in updating my blog the last few months.  I hadn’t realised how December’s massive changes had really affected me and it is only now that I feel more on my feet to get back to business, so to speak!

Lately, I’ve made a firm commitment to spend more time working on what I love and that includes both healing & guidance consultations with people and also creating and felting.

The other day I asked myself: “So what is one thing you can do you do when you’ve got lots of goodies that you’ve made (now the local markets have closed)?  I answered – quite sensibly – “You open an Etsy shop.”  This also confirmed what a few friends have been hinting at gently – as little old moi doesn’t always take direct advice happily!

So with a few hours on hand yesterday afternoon and into the wee hours of this morning – with a break in between to attend a coaching webinar – I set to designing my own little shop on Etsy.  I rather like it.  It does only have one item in there at the moment, so if you enter, you’re only there a really short time before you get bored and chuff off again – but if you’d like to visit anyway – here’s the link to Felt and Silk

Other items on today’s agenda while I’m writing

I have been doing some mroe eco-dyeing over the weekend and will be making 8 more scarves as it’s winter here and chilly.  Once made, I’ll upload some pics of the process and finished products.

But now it’s time for bed as I’m severely cutting my beauty sleep short.

 

Some winter news

Winter in the southern hemisphere is a time when Nature slows down and regenerates deep within the earth as she follows the natural rhythms of life. I’ve noticed that the more I follow my own nature and step in tune to my own rhythms, the more contented and on track I feel.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying a slightly slower pace and reconnecting with my own Inner Nature, which is gently calling me to refocus on my strengths and gifts, and what makes my heart sing.

So, along with felting, I’m opening my consultation room door and once again offering Reiki, Aromatouch essential oil applications, relaxation and meditation guidance and cds, counselling and coaching, command cellular healing and other beautiful modalities – all at my home at the foot of one of the Glasshouse Mountains. Read more: http://aannshajones.com.au/content/1040/NewsandOffers.aspx

On the felting side – I have begun a few projects – a couple of cream bowls with groovy coloured inserts which look a bit like frog eyes!

And on Sunday I made a scarf that I’m donating as a prize for a local raffle.

I’ll post photos of these next time. 🙂

 

 

Today I have set up a test using calico (pre-mordanted with alum) in raspberry, blueberry and red cabbage dyes using cold extraction in the presence of (1) vinegar and (2) ammonia.

The berries are frozen, and the red cabbage came straight from the fridge, as I believe after reading India Flint’s book that heat can alter the colouring, whereas extracting dyes from frozen can often produce brighter, more vibrant results.

I put a teaspoon of household ammonia in the alkaline pots (it is really stinky lol), and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar in the acid pots.

I am using tap water so this will also alter outcome as it has not been filtered.

In each glass jar is one small piece of calico and also a small piece of calico bundled with the material and tied with an elastic band.

Hopefully my patience will last for a week and I’ll leave these in the shade to develop.

 

Mural – sneak preview 2

Well, painting straight lines and lettering on bessa block (breeze block for UK readers) makes the job a tad longer.  Also using prime colours (high quality outdoor house paint) means there’s a higher proportion of colour and makes the paint a bit see-through, so I have to do two coats.

So, the mural isn’t finished yet.

However, I’ve had some lovely feedback from teachers and parents – and lots of interest from curious students, which makes it all worthwhile!

Here’s today’s finished stage.

 

Stage 2 of mural at the school

Stage 2 of mural at the school

 

As you can see, I’ve finished the little Apps at the bottom and have completed the two top sections.  All I have to do now is fill in the bottom two sections and add some highlight/shading  remove the masking tape. Once the masking tape is removed, it should look fine.

I’m wondering though, to any readers who are painters – do you think it’s quicker, more efficient and more esthetic to use masking tape, or do you prefer to paint straight lines by hand?

 

 

 

 

Where did those days go?  I’ve a few photos of results from the last couple of eco-dyeing batches, which I’ll list below.

Results of experiments dyeing calico and silk with brown onion skins in various mordants

Onion skin swatches of various mordants/material

Onion skin swatches of various mordants/material

Eco-printing alum mordanted calico with rusty nails, paprika, turmuric and fennel seeds

Paprika, turmeric, fennel seeds, rusty iron nails

Paprika, turmeric, fennel seeds, rusty iron nails

Results

Paprika, turmuric, fennel seeds in iron bath

Paprika, turmuric, fennel seeds in iron bath

Eco-printing calico with fresh eucalyptus leaves

Fresh eucalyptus leaf print, green

Fresh eucalyptus leaf print, green

Experimenting with capsicum leaf – turned yellow/green and rosemary – turned pink

Capsicum leaf (yellow), rosemary leaves (pink)

Capsicum leaf (yellow), rosemary leaves (pink)

 

 

 

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