While waiting for the logs to do their magic…

So many hot irons in the fire sometimes it’s a wonder I don’t ignite! Good thing I’m a persistent B…though.  First my cell phone camera kept telling me it failed and would not take another picture.  So, I went into the house and got my camera.  Took a few shots and that battery died.  I keep a second battery charged up, though, so I went in the house and got that.  Whew!  Took the rest of the pics I wanted.  Now, I thought sure that I brought my camera in with me but nooooo….I had to put all the lights on outside again and walk through the very wet grass to get it!  It’s just my mind I’m losing!

That logwood gets me every time! I remembered to keep the temperature under 180 and to keep any iron out of the mix but I still got brown instead of purple. I sifted through all my notes until I finally found it!  I dipped it in some washing soda to test it out and viola!20170903_154139

It’s a little more red than purple but at least it’s not brown! meanwhile, I tested my water and I think it read 14 – high Ph level but I’m honestly not sure how to interpret this reading.20170903_151644

Nevertheless, it began to rain cats and dogs, so always hopeful,  I collected a lot of water to try again tomorrow!

Had better luck with a test run of some other colors, though.


These were just some quick and dirty tests, all on silk, simply dipped in vinegar water. Left to right: Looks white but it’s tomato leaves with mint and it was a light green when dunked but a dirty white when dry. Nix that one. Next is goldenrod; then orange osage with a little tumeric; madder; that pesky logwood; and lac – wow that was strong in a flash! Just enough to wet my whistle before a more serious dyeing session.


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.


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.


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!