Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

           

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Eco-printing

Blog

Eco-printing

Elizabeth McTear

There are a multitude of ways to use natural dyes: immersion, block or screen printing, painting, etc. Lately I've been experimenting with eco-printing, sometimes also called contact printing. It's a labor-intensive process where I wrap, bind and steam plant materials directly into the treated fabrics, usually for hours at a time, to create a permanent print. I've seen a lot of interesting and exciting examples of this method, but they were also not quite my particular style. I was aiming for something that felt connected to antique botanical charts, or the pressings of flowers between journal pages. I wanted something nostalgic and romantic, but also evocative of scientific botanical illustrations from the 1800s, particularly the nature printed seaweeds by Henry Bradbury (I have a collection of these prints I found on Ebay several years ago). 

A nature print bookplate by Henry Bradbury via panteek.com

A nature print bookplate by Henry Bradbury via panteek.com

After a lot of experimentation and failures, I finally started to consistently pull clean prints that fit my aesthetic goals. To get to this point, I tested several kinds of fabrics and tweaked a lot of the chemistry involved, such as the percentage of and delivery method of various kinds of mordants, the water pH, and balancing the need to protect the silk from becoming brittle from various mordants while drawing out the desired colors from the plants. 

Final eco-printed pillows, featuring eucalyptus and willow leaves using various mordants. 

Final eco-printed pillows, featuring eucalyptus and willow leaves using various mordants. 

Close up detail of the print on raw silk. The silk remains strong and soft. 

Close up detail of the print on raw silk. The silk remains strong and soft. 

Small batch yardage hanging in my backyard. 

Small batch yardage hanging in my backyard. 

Fresh yardage pulled from the steamer, showing the plant material on the left and the impression on the right.

Fresh yardage pulled from the steamer, showing the plant material on the left and the impression on the right.

Leaves exhausted of their colors on my work table. They can now be composted for our garden. 

Leaves exhausted of their colors on my work table. They can now be composted for our garden. 

A set of smaller pillows I made from eco-printed silk. 

A set of smaller pillows I made from eco-printed silk. 

I currently have one eco-printed item available in the shop, with more items to come: http://www.honestalchemy.co/new-products/leaf-print-table-runner

Eco-printed raw silk table runner in the shop.

Eco-printed raw silk table runner in the shop.