A Daily Blog on Textile and Garden Adventures

21. May, 2019

I really wasn't happy with the silk print for How Far Does the Hand Reach and it was time to get the samples posted back to suffolk in the UK so I cut another piece of silk the same size as Maire Clarke-Wilson had sent and made this print using miro leaves. The miro is endemic to New Zealand and I have a large tree in the bottom of the garden. I am much happier with this print and Marie can now decide if she wants to use this one or the original print. I am not quite sure if her brief for the project is to use the fabrics she has sent all round the world but I feel I have done m y bit now so it will be interesting to see what she produces as the final result

20. May, 2019

This shows the types of print (rather than resist ) that I get from oak leaves. It might be OK if I do some stitching around the shapes but it is not a great print as far as clarity goes. I am thinking of trying other ways of encouraging the print to be more defined. As you can see eco printing is an imprecise art and not all prints are a great success. I do have far less failures since taking Kathy's on line course and the failures I have I now know are not process related but rather to do with the specific leaves I am working with and the chemistry involved. How I wish I had paid more attention in chemistry class but trial and error brings a certain understanding to the process

19. May, 2019

I had forgotten how much using tannin and iron together colours the fabric and we have been playing around with tannins and weeds in Kathy Hays on line Weeds and Leaves class. I do not really like the effect of the dark background but there are times when it might be of use. This is more using the leaves as a resist rather than printing from them and my objective is to get as clear a prints of the veins and outlines (with colour from the leaves if possible). This is why most of my prints are made with the underside of the leaf to the fabric - I am trying to get the imprint of the veins and these are usually more prominent on the underside of the leaf.
However I do have a love hate relationship with oak. They have such a distinctive leaf shape and these ones might be fun to stitch into. Oak should have lots of tannin but I struggle to get a good print rather than resist print from them. One of the other things we have been doing is dipping the end result in a solution of water and baking soda to "shift" the PH. I didn't think this had made much difference but when the fabric dried it was a deep tan rather than the dark grey ( as shown above) associated with an iron and tannin mix. It is interesting that the two step tannin/alum mordanting process with cotton does not have this effect. I assume this is something to do with the reaction between the tannin and alum so the background fabric stays the original colour

18. May, 2019

In the post for yesterday I used a paper towel blanket and the colours on the paper towel were just amazing. The papertowel is quite fragile but I dried it and then ironed it and then ironed Misty Fuse to the reverse. I then fused it onto cotton fabric. I used a reasonable weight fabric but you could easily get away with a lightweight cotton or maybe even a polycotton, Once fused I painted the front with gel. This was interesting as a use a paper towel product called Quilton. It Appears to be just one layer of paper towel with a quilting pattern but once the gel git, I quickly became aware that it was two very thin layers of paper towel fused together - this could account for the wonderful diffusion of colours onto the paper. I carefully peeled away the top layer and spread that to dry. Then I gelled the layer fused to the cotton. It goes very milky but once the gel is dried it is clear and almost like a thin, soft leather in texture. I used a gloss in this instance and think I would prefer my usual soft gel matte but I was impatient and wanting to see if this worked. I am more than pleased with the result, I am not sure how it will hand stitch but machine stitching it will be fine

17. May, 2019

I am a textile artist so I don't always follow purist theory with my eco dying. When I was using procion dydes I was fascinated with hat happened when I used white on white printed fabric with the dyes so I decided to see what happened with eco dying. the commercial cotton must be scoured and mordanted as ordinary cotton but then the process is the same. Make a bundle - here a variety of different coloured liquidamber leaves which are everywhere at this time of year. They amaze me how the difference in the leaf colour gets imparted tot the fabric. I like how the little flowers are peeping through behind and amidst the dyes so I have purchased some fat quarters of random printed (rather than floral) fabric and have that scouring to try some more of this