Following on from my cyanotype printing post I also tried cyanotype printing over eco prints. The results were interesting, I found the ecoprint changed colour, becoming more of a sepia tint, the yellows and greens were lost. I tried leaving areas without the cyanoprint chemicals on the paper, these remained golden coloured but there is a harsh line on the edge of the cyanoprint ‘border’ that I don’t like, you will see an example of this in my photos. I will have to work on this further as I might be able to soften the edge. I do like the sepia print with the blue cyanoprint, they are less fussy and more photographic looking. Also I like the leaf ‘window’ effect.
Here’s some examples of my cyanotype / eco prints on 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.
I’ve had quite a busy week with packing up orders every day. It’s been a bit dull so difficult to get photos to list new items to Kiln Fired Art on Etsy, but eventually I got there. I made a simple stand to photograph my ecoprinted scarves, what a difference that has made to sales. It just shows the importance of having good photos of your work.
The first 2 scarves are ecoprints on viscose, these are really large lightweight sarong sized scarves, so many ways to wear these and also very affordable too.
The peach ecoprinted scarf below is a heavier weight silk crepe scarf, it’s such a pretty colour.
I managed to get out for a walk in search of inspiration once the rain stopped, I found a lot of inspiration in the woods, forest bathing or shinrin yoku as the Japanese call it really lifted my spirits.
Today I am framing and photographing ecoprints, also making paper packs for crafters. I am wondering what my next ecoprint project will be as I want to bring them into my paintings in some way to give a sense of place, I’m thinking collage.
I would like to thank everyone who has watched the Youtube video of my little book, in a week it’s had over 1200 views and some amazing comments, I knew it was precious to me but I am overwhelmed so many people love it too.
It’s that time of year when I have a little flurry of ecoprinting activity before the leaves fall. As you will have read in my last post, like a squirrel building a dray I’m collecting leaves when I’m out and about, I’m also using what’s in my garden.
I do love this time of year, foraging gives me great pleasure and the fact I can capture the emotions I’ve had when I’m out somewhere (also memories) gives me a lasting connection to a place.
I’m saving the leaves from my walk last week to print some linen when it arrives, meanwhile I’ve gathered leaves in the garden to print on paper.
The first batch of ecoprints were ok but not as good as I hoped for.
The next batch were made on a different paper, I didn’t use a mordant, just a rusty pan and some vinegar in my water. I love the results.
As I printed on both sides of the paper it’s difficult to decide which one I like best. Which do you like, A or B ?
My cotinus did a great job, this plant never ceases to amaze me, I’ve never had blue prints before, or yellow green. Most of the time it prints a dark colour, often purple. So far this year it hasn’t printed with much colour so I was delighted when I got this pretty blue.
I shall be printing using mordants this week so watch this space 🙂
Here’s just a few of this weeks prints, they are gradually making their way into my shop.
My friend came over for a few days, we usually do something crafty, this time I decided to make a top where I’d eco printed the fabric myself. This has been on my to do list for a while so it was good to finally get round to it. It took 3 days to complete, on the first day I dyed the fabric. I downloaded a free pattern for the York top from Seamwork
The fabric is recycled 100% cotton ( I’ll tell you more at the end of this post), I cut the fabric slightly larger than the pattern pieces so there would be plenty wiggle room after dyeing just in case something didn’t work out and needed to be avoided. The fabric was rolled on copper pipes, tied with yarn and boiled for 2 1/2 hours. I threw a couple of handfuls of onion skins into the pot thinking I would get a golden brown colour.
I have to say I was surprised at the colour, which wasn’t brown, but I wasn’t too sure the leaves had printed very well. I left the fabric to dry overnight.
On assessment the next day I realised I had some lovely delicate green leaves as well as some darker cotinus prints. What I liked most was the patterning from the onion skin dye which ranged from pale lemon yellow to ochre. It’s hard to tell from my pictures but the light background colour is lemon not white. On the outside of my bundles serendipity gave me a lovely graded colour effect, also the pink yarn I’d used to tie my bundles had transferred to the fabric, I hoped to use this effect as a border at the hemline front and back and also on one edge of the cuffs when cutting my pattern pieces so I took care to match up the front and back so the ‘border’ was the same depth . There’s a lovely pattern centre front as well.
Mirror image cuffs,look how the geranium leaf front and back prints differently.
I haven’t made clothes in years but I was taught well by my mother who had served an apprenticeship as a dressmaker and who sewed and taught dressmaking all her working life. It all came back to me very quickly, it was like she was sitting on my shoulder telling me what to do next.
I made my own bias binding for the neck.
I had to wait a day for this nifty little tool to arrive but it makes things so much easier.
You slot your strip of fabric into the tool, pin the end to the ironing board and as you pull the tool along you iron the fabric.
The pattern had a tie fastener at the back neck but I thought it would be too bulky. In the middle of the night I woke up knowing how my Mum would finish the neck, with a thread loop which is barely visible. I don’t know if I have ever done this before but I had watched Mum do it many times in the past.
Using double thread I made a couple of loops which the button would go through but not too loose.
Then I buttonhole stitched over the loops of thread and finished off the ends securely on the back.Perfect!
Here’s my finished top, I think it turned out well 🙂
It’s a little on the large side but the next one will be perfect.
I have to say this turned out far better than my expectations, the top wouldn’t look out of place in a boutique in Positano. I am looking forward to making more eco printed clothes, maybe a skirt or another top.
I said I would tell you about the cotton fabric at the end of this post. I’ll let you into my secret, it’s made from a cotton sheet that I used to cover my craft fair table, shhh don’t tell anyone 🙂
I’m wearing it to go out to dinner with my friend next week. 😀