If you would like to join in and ecoprint later in the year now would be a good time to think about making some rusty iron water.
You need a bucket preferably with a lid (not essential), I use an empty container that fat ball bird food came in. You need some rusty metal items, or just iron items will do. I have nails, a bicycle chain, and pieces of rusty iron that I have picked up on my walks. An old horseshoe, pipe, washers, iron rods or door hinges would be great.
To get my bucket of rust water going quickly I added some wire wool which rusts away quite quickly. Water is then added to the bucket, I think I half filled my bucket but it depends how much iron you have, it’s not an exact science, this is left to sit somewhere where to rust.
Tip – Adding vinegar with the wire wool helps speed up the rusting process.
It takes a while for the iron water to develop but eventually it will look like this. I have tried not to disturb the sludge on the bottom so you can see my bits of metal more easily.
The bucket gets topped up with water now and then so I always have rust water to hand, and I might add more bits of rusty metal when I find them.
This is the second post about my ecoprinting / botanical printing journey throughout the year. During my journey I will share photos of my prints in order for you to see what works best at what time of year. Even in the depths of winter we can still achieve good results.
I will try different papers and mordants, dye blankets etc along the way.
If you want to see the results for the rest of the year ( I will post each month) then sign up to my blog to get email notification of new posts or type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box. There will be other posts comparing plants at different times of the year for example, and a beginners step by step guide to ecoprinting on paper, my way.
January – Boil 1. The Control – no mordant or leaf dip.
Pot – Rusty roasting tin
Water – Tap with vinegar, about 2 tablespoons to 2 litres of water.
Paper – Seawhites and Windsor & Newton cartridge paper, printer paper.
This is the first post of my ecoprinting / botanical printing journey throughout the year. During my journey I will share experiments and photos of my prints in order to see what works best and at what time of year.
Even in the depths of winter we can achieve good results. I will try out different papers and mordants, dye blankets, different foliage etc along the way.
If you want to see the results for the whole year ( I will post each month) then please sign up for my blog, you will get an email notification for new posts, or type “Ecoprinting throughout the year” into the search box. There will be posts comparing plants for example, and a beginners step by step guide to ecoprinting on paper my way.
Now lets start our journey. January doesn’t seem like the month to find great foliage for printing at first sight but there’s still plenty of plant material around. Plants that are good all year round and readily available (which makes them a good choice for experimenting and comparing results) are hardy geraniums ( cranesbill ), rose leaves, blackberry / bramble leaves, herb Robert, also strawberry leaves.
January – Boil 1. The Control –
Pot – Rusty roasting tin
Water – Tap with vinegar, about 2 tablespoons to 2 litres of water.
Paper – Seawhites and Windsor & Newton cartridge paper.
Cooking time – submerged and boiled 45 minutes , turned and boiled 45 minutes.
Observations -This is my control reference with no mordant or leaf dip.
Boil 2. – as boil 1 above except:-
Mordant – Alum Acetate 2.5%
Boil 3 – as boil 1 except:-
Leaf dip– rust water.
Boil 4 – as boil 1 except :-
Mordant – Alum Acetate 2.5%
Leaf dip – rust water
Conclusion – In the comparison photo below you can see the ecoprints with no mordant or leaf dip are pale, any dark areas are probably from the iron in my rusty old roasting tin, and the tiles used to hold the bundles of paper, (more on this in the ‘how to’ PDF coming later in the year).
The prints with the A A mordant and no leaf dip have more colour, the leaf edges are darker too.
The prints with the leaves dipped in rust water ( no mordant) have good strong dark tonal prints with not a lot of colour.
The ecoprints with AA mordant and rust water dip have good colour and nice strong darks including the veins.
There is no right or wrong way to print as long as the end result is what you want to achieve. There could be a time when you want pale prints as in boil 2, an album for example where the prints are not the star of the show. Or if I want something bold and graphic looking I would choose boil 3.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing my first experiments for January, in part 2 I will show you what happens with a different mordant.
What have you been up to this week? It’s felt quite odd this week between Christmas and New Year for several reasons ( no family here because of covid, house still not finished etc.)
I’ve tried to make the most of it by indulging myself with the simple pleasures. We have managed a walk most days, it’s been quite mild for this time of year. I seemed to make a few sheep friends with every field I crossed, but I had nothing for them to eat.
I always love to have book gifts at Christmas, this year I am enjoying reading The Thursday Murder Club, I think the second book is even better than the first. Also some willow weaving books which is my new skill to learn in 2022.
I finally got my new oven installed just before Christmas so I have done some baking.
Blueberry and coconut cake from the Bero Book.
Also my Gran’s wartime ginger cake which happens to be vegan, you can find the recipe here.
Hercules ( my sourdough starter ) has been working hard, I’ve baked bread every other day.
I’ve tested the warming drawer, I had a double oven before but the small oven rarely got used except for warming plates. Apparently you can slow cook in the warming drawer but I’ve yet to try this but I have been doing the final prove in it.
I’ve not had a proper oven for a while so I’ve had to bake my bread in the small oven until now. The crust usually burnt and I didn’t get much oven spring so I was really pleased with this loaf.
There have been various rolls too, these were for bacon sandwiches on Christmas morning and turkey stuffing dips, for our traditional Christmas day breakfast and supper.
Sourdough really doesn’t take much effort to make but it does take time. I prepare it in the afternoon, leave overnight to rise then shape and give a final prove before baking in the morning.
These are rye bread rolls, perfect with the Christmas smoked cheddar cheese.
Then there were stottie cakes with ham and homemade pease pudding, a north east culinary delight.
I got a Ninja 9 in 1 when I thought I might not have my oven in time for Christmas and I have to say I’m loving it. As there were just the 2 of us and no time plan for Christmas day dinner I decided to cook the turkey crown in it and it was perfect. Just 15 minutes pressure cook, 15 minutes to come back down then 20 minutes air crisp.
Also turkey soup using the pressure cooker function. It’s now my number 1 kitchen gadget.
Now I need to find out what happens next with the Thursday Murder Club.
I hope you are having a relaxing week, it’s good to recharge the batteries now and then. I’ll see you next year 🙂
It’s time for me to take a break and get the house sorted for Christmas, it’s still a bit of a building site here but it’s gradually getting there. My Etsy shop is still open but the last posting date is Monday 20th Dec.
I’ve been waiting eagerly for the leaves to fall from the trees so I could get some photos of bare trees and branches for an artwork I started a few months ago.
I took an online course with Fibre Arts Take 2 ; my second course, this one was a collage course with Cordula Kagemann. I’m still not finished this wonderful course but as I have lifetime access it’s not a problem. I like to keep dipping in and out of courses, that way I don’t feel rushed and I absorb things better.
I wanted to produce 2 round canvasses to hang in a particular place, one happened quickly, it was based on a wet and muddy walk around the moss.
The theme for the final piece is “Reflection”. As I walk along the river I often think about William Wordsworth, who as a boy would have walked this path. There are a couple of large trees that I love, I wonder if Wordsworth gazed upon them as saplings.
Armed with a ball of wool I set to and measured the girth of the trunk and tied a knot.
When I got home the circumference in cm was divided by 2.5. I realise that I was wrong, the trees were to young. But hey they are still beautiful and Wordsworth often comes to mind walking along the river bank.
I decided to add sometext from ‘The Prelude’ to the piece, he mentions playing by the river as a child.
Here’s my finished piece “Thoughts on Wordsworth”.
I am enjoying this course immensely, collage is new to me and I enjoy using recycled ephemera in my art and I’m happier using acrylic paint on the gelli plate as it uses far less and is easier to clean up than brushes, with less to cause pollution.
I’m thinking of doing some travel themed pieces next.
I have been very busy this week uploading stock into my shop and staying warm indoors. We managed a raku firing and while I was waiting for the kiln to heat up I gathered some leaves and did some ecoprinting on silk scarves.
I was pleased to get the rakuing done before the snow hit us next day but it was very cold out there.
Ecoprinted silk scarves , these are multi layered prints.
I’ve been doing some glazing the past couple of days so there should be some ikebana bowls and soap dishes to show you soon.
Each month this past year I’ve ecoprinted on paper, I will tell you more about that in January. Just now I am filling my shop with lovely eco friendly wall art. I’m keeping a few for myself too as I think it’s time for some new pictures once the house is finished.
I find putting a mount on a print really brings it to life, as does a frame. I am low on frames just now, and just like my new oven and wooden floor the frames are out of stock and no one knows when they will arrive.
I hope you enjoy looking at these ecoprints as much as I do making them, I’m always fascinated at the results when I open a bundle.
Hello, I thought I should let everyone know that although the house renovations are taking a lot longer than expected and I’ve not been able to do much making I still have new stock going into my shop regularly as I kept some work back for pre Christmas listing on Etsy. It’s something I do every year as it saves me having a mad rush making stock in November and December.
Click on the images if you would like to see more information.
There are some gorgeous acer leaf pieces including ecoprinted silk scarves, this one is in gorgeous muted shades.
Also acer leaf prints on paper, both framed, or to frame yourself. I’m always conscious of the price of posting so I like to have some lightweight gifts available.
There are some smaller ceramic gift ideas as well including snowdrop hearts which are usually sold out at this time of year. I made twice as many last January and held some back for the run up to Christmas.
There are a couple of ceramic soap dishes left but I have some waiting for a glaze firing so hopefully I might get them done this week.
I need to get a raku firing done as well as my hanging leaves are selling fast.
Mackerel are still available and small fish too, but these sell out really quickly.
There are days I wish there were more hours, I’m still decorating and waiting for the kitchen and floors to be finished, hopefully the house will be finished for Christmas. Maybe Santa will find my oven and oak flooring on the container ship and bring me a surprise delivery soon 🙂
Sometimes you just have to get out amongst the trees but I would say the trees hug us as much as we might want to hug them.
Shinrin yoku is the Japanese term for forest bathing, who doesn’t feel the power of nature when walking in the woods. Even with wet feet and being covered in mud I enjoyed the feeling of being totally immersed in nature, well having slipped in a boggy area I was immersed in the place 🙂 .
I have recently read Overstory by Richard Powers which has added to my appreciation for trees. I could imagine the trees whispering to each other ” Here she comes”.
I love the overgrown places where brambles make an impenetrable tangle where only animals make tracks through the undergrowth, there were deer prints in the mud too.
I am going to spend today working on a couple of collage pieces based on my photos. I have been patiently waiting for the leaves to drop in order to collect images of bare branches for my art projects.
I hope you have a relaxing Sunday whatever you are doing.