New Addition to the Liminal States & Thresholds for Change Series

This whole series is the product of a summer of Eco-Dying and Printing and includes some shibori, some rusting and some indigo dyes. The final details on this one are actually painted on with acrylic paints to expand the photos of the trees from the squares into the spaces above and below.

In the Stillness. web.
In The Stillness. #5 in the series: Liminal States & Thresholds for Change
In the Stillness .web.
Detail, In the Stillness

These trees are from photos I took in my back yard:

Then it was ‘shopped some more, cropped and divided into four sections and printed on fabric as seen in this piece. Sometimes artists have a hard time differentiating between what they know in their heads to how it’s perceived when others look at it.  Fortunately, I belong to a small critique group, now a local Pod of the regional SAQA, North Of Boston, which we call the NOB. From my experience with them I found that one didn’t necessarily “see” what I saw, in what was then just four photos, not necessarily related as one picture;  hence came the painting in of branches to unite the four sections and bring it to a finish!

I think Nina Marie has some exciting plans in the works for the summer:

Off The Wall Friday

Eco-Printing – The Process

Eco-Printing really is quite a process.  After all, there’s not a lot of difference, in terms of process, from how we do it today from how we did it a hundred years ago. The materials we use are different; for instance, we purchase our aluminum or sulfate or soda ash in a plastic bag or aluminum acetate or calcium carbonate in a jar rather than starting from scratch. Of course, some of us may use pressure cookers or microwaves to hasten the process, but it’s still simmered, boiled or steamed.

While I still make a lot of the natural dyes from the plants themselves, such as sunflower, avacado, onion skins, berries, sumac berries and leaves, acorns and oak galls, bloodroot and so on, we may buy the dyes already prepared. Then, there are some that we can’t get locally, such as logwood that gives us gorgeous red purples to orchid blues but only grows in Mexico, Central America, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Brazil, the Guyannas, Madagascar, and India. And then there’s madder, an ancient material that imparts reds, mulberry, orange-red, terra cotta. It’s  primary dye component is alizarin, a root product. Madder   can be found in Japan, South China,  South East Asia, India, Turkey, Europe, Africa and Australia.

But we still have to mordant and boil or steam our fibers and cloth.  And I still go out and forage for all the plants I use, either in my own backyard or in some favorite parks or secret places. In one of my best places there are old, very old apple trees and yesterday I discovered what are now wild grapes, although I have no doubt someone planted and harvested them back when this land was farmland, which was actually not that long ago here – 50 years or so.

First day’s work, June 15th, Summer 2016 is now mostly processed and freshly unrolled and not yet washed or ironed. (I’m heating up the water to simmer the last of the day’s batch as we speak.) Yes, it may lose a little to the washing of it but what’s lost may perk right back up when the hot iron presses into it. Or maybe a piece of it will get a spritz of vinegar to brighten it up. But, I digress…

Silk ScarfSilk Scarf.1.Alum mordant, dipped in vinegar water. Sprayed with seawater.20 minutes on log in water in pressure cooker.

Ferns, sumac, unknown shrub leaves, young birch, and everything printed. Even the ferns which have never printed for me before!

Silk OrganzaSilk Scarf 2.Alum mordant . Dipped in seawater; sprayed with soda ash, Some leaves soaked in vinegar water, others in iron water. Vinegar water blanket. Simmered with avacado dye.Would have been great had I not almost set it on fire when it ran out of water.

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The Twins Experiment

Cotton Twin 1Twin 1.Alum mordant. Dipped in Seawater.
Opened next day, June 16th.

Cotton Twin 2Twin 2Alum mordant. Dipped in Seawater.
Opened on Saturday, June 18th. In this case, there’s not a significant difference. Now, the reason there’s not much here is that I tried printing birch leaves, but they did not want to print.

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Silk Noir with “Blanket”Leaves on Silk NoirSumac, Oak, Maple, Birch

Raw Silk 1 w.BlanketThis was mordanted in alum, then soy milk but did not get my usual second batch of alum.

This time the birch actually printed, even on the iron blanket ever-so-slightly backwards and forward. With the hope of getting a good print on the blanket, and for a test I used the same raw silk, and placed the leaves first with the veins down; then another layer with the veins up and covered that with a blanket.

So, as you see below, I think this could have benefitted from a couple more days to give those fainter prints more definition.

Alum mordant, dipped in vinegar water. Sprayed with seawater.

Ferns, sumac, unknown shrub leaves, young birch, and everything printed. Even the ferns which have never printed for me before!

All in all, a good day’s work and a good start to get back into the swing of things!

Next Step On The Learning Curve

Yesterday got by me without posting, so here I am on a Saturday!  Here in New England the sun is shining again and it’s supposed to warm up by this afternoon, so I’m hoping to get outdoors for a bit today, maybe get in a photo shoot.

Although I have been working on some textile art pieces as well as some earrings, I can’t seem to stop myself from eco-printing – it’s definitely an addiction! I added an ingredient to my bag of tricks and it stepped it up for me in terms of getting the best color yet! It’s calcium carbonate, aka chalk. After mordanting this piece of raw silk with alum , then soy milk, I soaked them in sea water overnight, then in chalk water – viola!  The most intense color to date.

Some of the eucalyptus turned blue but some, a different euc and seeds turned a deep orange.  Some of the eucalyptus was presoaked in vinegar water, others in iron water. I’m not certain but I think the blue was influenced by the iron water and the orange a product of the vinegar water.

The yellow is from a first dyebath in sunflower dye.

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Not the best photo, but here’s a sample of one of my new earrings using some of the DSP (deconstructed screen printed) fabric from this summer’s batch.More pics soon.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading! Feel free to add comments!