Jam Day Ecoprintingpalooza

Friends and i have been planning and hoping to get together for literally months to have a play day! All of us of course have busy lives, but finally on the 27th, we were able to commit all at the same time, to the 29th of January.

Lyn has a wonderful second story studio set up, waaaaaaaaaaay out by the mountains!

With oodles of materials to work with from rose to cherry, sumac and grevillea, onion and maple, marigold flowers, rose petals, turmeric, something like sliced betel nut, privet berries and oak, eucalyptus, osage curlings, well, you name it–if it was scavenged locally, buyable or shared, we had a plethora of materials to choose from. Almost overwhelmingly so! We also shared pre-mordanted fabrics, and lots of discussion and tips about various methods and techniques.

We had a pot of onion skins going for one bath, and a pot of superstrong Lac as well.

I had a difficult time choosing, so  i stuck to the “tried and true’s” of maple, oak, grevillea, euc and osage, with experimental hints of privet berry, rose petal, the almost betel nut, amaryllis and rowan. (Note, the privet berries give a nice green dye, but do NOT print at all….) Lyn generously shared a long strip of viscose (?) scarf (commercially dyed, and un-mordanted) that we first soaked in vinegar (NOT A MORDANT, but a modifier/Ph adjuster), and then layered with plant materials, with me adding a strip of previously logwood dyed silk in between. I had gone out for a bit of fresh air at one point and picked some fresh fir, tearing it into little pieces and putting that between the layers, with a bit of euc also.

!!!! When this was wet, we couldn’t decide if there was a definite imprint, thinking perhaps it was just an “embossing” effect as the viscose was thicker than most cottons and silks, but yup, fir and euc did the job and discharged just enough to make it interesting. First photo below, un-pressed, second pressed:

(To see more details, all photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.) Part of the effect i think is that some of the logwood “transferred” to the viscose, as evidenced by the darker colour. Even so, i think i’m going to discharge this whole piece, and try again. I might even add a crocheted or needlelace edging after so i can wear it as a scarf.

And look what it did to the logwood silk!!!


We tried some of the haremcloth as well. Lyn got crisp results, mine not so much, but i think mine was too loose a bundle.

I love this green from the onion bath, very atmospheric and reminding me of an old Arthur Rackham illustration.

Great colour on this one from the lac, but the maple, euc and osage is barely visible, except as a contrasting yellow:


Blah, but i like the string patterning, always my favourite part, and usually strong even on failed pieces:



I wish i had a shot of one of Susan’s pieces–she has used alum acetate with a chalking after (mordanting procedure for cellulose fibres) , something i have pooh-poohed as a step i didn’t “need” to do 🙂  However, it definitely made the colours from the leaves and dyes bond better, with maple leaves showing such incredible detail and colour range that you would believe it had been painted by a VERY skilled artist.

These two pieces are the ones though that really made me SQUEAL.

Above, euc, oak and osage on cotton, with lac. Below, euc, oak and osage on previously logwood dyed cotton, in lac.

Obvious to me is that pre-mordanting properly can make a major difference. Click on the photos to see the full glory 🙂

I still have one bundle cooking right now, as it missed getting into either pot, so maybe another surprise or two.

(And alas i don’t have a lot of in situ shots, or pics of Susan and Lyn’s results–oh some were to die for!!– as i forgot to put the chip in the big camera, and had to use my phone. And most of those were blurry ’cause i was so excited 🙂 )

I do believe i could get excited about ecoprinting again. I’m still in “Epiphany” mode though, so taking more time for reflection and doing, rather than showing and sharing here.


You may, or may not(!),  notice that i have disabled the “like” button on posts, starting with Jan 21st of this year. It’s starting to feel like FB where people “react”, but never actually say anything. Blogging is about interaction, and as guilty as i myself am sometimes for doing that, i’m feeling if i *do* “like” something, it might be is helpful, encouraging or validating to someone to actually SAY what i mean. Trying to change that habit myself!

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