After a morning of struggling to get up and move, the sun came out and I decided to do my first Eco-Printing of the year!
I went out on the back deck and unearthed my dying pans/pots from their winter hibernation...
I made an iron bath to mordant a couple of silk scarves. I used the iron residue from last year that was dried all around the edge of the pan, scrubbing it off with an old toothbrush. I added just a little extra Iron powder I have... Both the silk scarves and the Iron mordant were purchased from Dharma Trading, my one stop shopping for my dying needs!
I put the silks in the mordant bath to sit while I went out to the woods by my driveway to collect some wild rose leaves. Lots of little stinging thorns later I was ready! ( I have found that any rose leaves work great, I just happen to have these growing around my yard)
I squeeze the excess water out of the silk and lay them wet out on newspapers on my kitchen table. I place the rose leaves face down on top of the silk, arranging them as I go. When I'm done placing the leaves I cover them all with plastic wrap ( mine is from Costco, but any that is microwaveable will work). This keeps the leaves from creating a mirror images when you roll up the silk.
I take an old paper towel tube fold it in half and in half again and wrap it tight with the same plastic wrap, sealing the ends up. This becomes my form that I wrap my silks up on. I would use a wooden dowel but I need to be able to bend the fabric bundle to fit it into my steaming pot. I wrap the silk onto the form tightly so there is good leaf to silk contact.
When its rolled up I bundle it up tightly with string.
I use an old pasta pot that has a strainer insert that I can use to lift the bundles out of the liquid.
*** Make sure that once you use a pot for dying you never cook food in it again!!! ***
This pot is ONLY for Eco-Printing/Dying.
I will put the bundles into the strainer section of the pot and place enough water in it to cover the bundles. I bring the water to a boil and then simmer the bundles for about an hour or so. I check them and turn them in the pot now and then. I have a pair of metal tongs that I use to pick the bundles up. Make sure you have good ventilation while the pot is simmering.
Depending on who you are reading some say to leave the bundles for as long as possible before opening up. I personally can't wait and usually unwrap them as soon as they are cool enough to handle...
I hang the wet pieces on my deck to dry and then iron them to help heat set the prints. I leave them over night and wash them in a hand wash cycle in my machine the next day. I always air dry them.
I've been saving onion skins in a bag on my kitchen counter all winter so I could dye with them. Red makes an amazing magenta/purple!
I spread them out onto a pre-washed piece of cotton canvas duck I had. The canvas was still wet from the washing. I spread the onion skins out all over the piece and then sprayed them with a water/vinegar mixture to moisten them.
I covered them with plastic wrap and folded the piece up several times before tying it up tightly.
I also simmered this piece for an hour using the same water I had from the silks and rose leaves. There was iron in the water so I knew it would tun some of the yellow onion skins a great shade of green.
When I first opened this piece I had a lot of pinks/magentas with some orange/tans. I wanted to tone down the colors a little more so I just scrunched the fabric in my hands as I re-tied it into a long piece that I re-soaked in the simmering pot. I kept checking it frequently because I didn't want the color to change too much. After about 7-10 minutes I took it back out and it was perfect!
It's now drying on my back deck in the setting sun...
I'm going to use this piece to make my bag/purse for the summer.
I'll wash the fabric out gently tomorrow because it really smells like onions!
I learned how to Eco-Print from Googling it and finding out as much as I could before practicing.
Some artists that I followed to find out more about it are:
India Flint ( I bought a couple of her books and read them cover to cover )
I learned a lot from trial and error and a lot of experimenting! I plan on doing a lot more Eco-Printing and Shibori this summer when school is out.
Hope this helps anyone who wants to give it a try! :)