I decided to try some eco printing, now that is something I never thought I would say! I was inspired by a You Tube video I saw as well as one of my fellow art quilters who was also having a go.
I found an on-line beginner class by an English lady called Caroline Nixon, she was very thorough with her advice.
You have to have a mordant for the leaves to print onto the fabric. You can buy iron sulphate powder in shops but I found an old rusting saw that my husband still had in his garage and soaked it in water and vinegar for a few days.
|Making iron water|
I forgot to take a photo of the iron water a few days later, but it was quite rusty looking. I had to pour the water through paper towels a couple of times to get the rusty bits out and just have the iron water.
I rinsed some raw silk into the iron water, rung it out and then placed leaves on the top.
I tried all different leaves to see what worked.
I rolled up my bundle of leaves using an old rolling pin and plastic wrap as a barrier. It's important to roll it tightly.
|My leaf bundle|
Then I had to wrap up the bundle to keep it together while it was steaming. I used some crepe bandage that has a bit of stretch.
|Leaf bundle wrapped|
Here it is steaming for One and a half hours
This is the first raw silk that I tried, all the leaves printed.
You get a clearer print if you put the back of the leaf onto the fabric.
That was so much fun, I thought I would try again with another piece of silk, but this time the fabric was a bit too wet and the print was a bit blurry. I used rose and camellia leaves, the camellia leaves don't print very well.
I quickly tried again but this time I ironed the fabric so it was almost dry, I still managed to get a print from the rose leaves but the fabric had been too dry. The yellow on the right was me trying the camellia leaves again.
I had run out of time and iron water by now and so that was the end of my experiment.
I actually enjoyed it much more than I expected. I learned that I loved the smell of the leaves steaming and you need the fabric to be damp but not too wet or too dry. I also learnt that deciduous leaves print the best. They have the most tannin when they are about to drop off the tree, so autumn leaves are perfect for eco printing.
I will definitely try again one day; I don't know if I will start to include eco printing in my quilts but you never know!
I do enjoy experimenting though, it is fun.
Bye for now,