Autumn ecoprinting

I haven’t done that much ecoprinting since the workshop in May with Irit Dulman. But with the autumnal colours all around, it seems seasonally appropriate somehow. And maybe it’s due to a different proportion of leaf pigments at this time of year, or maybe my technique is improving, but I seem to be getting more consistent results now. It’s probably a bit of both! 😉

sumac leaves

My sister Woman of the Cloth Carol came round last week with a large bag of sumac leaves (Rhus typhina), from the tree she is lucky enough to have growing in her front garden. The colours were glorious in their own right, but the leaves also contain a lot of tannin, which gives good prints.

I started by overprinting a couple of “failed” silk scarves from earlier experiments. On the first I used sumac and oak leaves, with a bit of logwood in the dyebath.

sumac scarf sumac scarf2 sumac scarf3

On the second I used eucalyptus, with a bit of cochineal.

eucalyptus scarf2eucalyptus scarf

I also printed a failed cotton scarf with sumac and maple – the prints here were more subtle.

sumac cotton scarf sumac cotton scarf2 sumac cotton scarf3

Back to silk, this was a vintage silk dress I found in a binliner of fabric scraps given to me by a friend who was clearing out her mother’s house after she died. I used three different types of maple leaf on this – they came out beautifully.

maple dress maple dress2 maple dress3 maple dress4

Finally, I made some hand felted berets and tried printing on those. Here are the results with sumac and maple.

sumac beretmaple beret

All these pieces used an iron mordant.

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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

11 thoughts on “Autumn ecoprinting”

  1. Lovely seeing the results of our ecoprinting day Kim. The berets are gorgeous and unique and I’m pleased to see that the scarves you overdyed, which looked a bit underwhelming when wet, have turned out beautifully with lovely subtle, ghostly markings from the leaves. My piece of vintage cotton is lovely too, but got buried under a pile of stuff I moved out of my workroom to make way for embroidery workshop participants before i could take a picture of it for you. I have since had a full week of decorating followed by a feltmaking birthday party for 10 x 12 year-old girls, so am just emerging from all that activity and thinking about getting my workroom ready so that I can actually do some textile work myself. Looking forward to it.

    1. Thanks Carol! I sold one of the scarves at Lambeth Open, so clearly other people like them too. 🙂 Hope your felting birthday party went well (I feel exhausted just thinking about it!) and look forward to seeing you next week at the V&A’s Fabric of India exhibition.

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