Eco printing is a process of wrapping dyestuff in damp mordanted fabric, wrapping it up, and either leaving it to “cure” in a warm dry place, or steaming it to extract and fix the colour.
Last year’s attempts gave mixed results. I started late in the summer, and went for storing my carefully wrapped cling film parcels in the shed that I’m using for a drying house. I’ve read that the parcels need to be left for at least a week, so to avoid the temptation to peep I made my parcels just before a holiday.
The result was not what I expected. The colours had merged and were not recognisable. Perhaps I left it too long. Perhaps I added too many pieces of rusty metal, or helped it along the way with too much vinegar.
Anyway, the result is a lovely muted piece of fabric, shown here. It just doesn’t have the fuchsia colours that went into it.
For my second attempt, I used more flowers, not so many leaves, and no metal. Because it was autumn by then, I decided the shed might not be warm enough to get a result. So I got the steamer out. This gave a nice result, but it was too pale. I think it was a combination of:
- Not using enough flowers. It was a bit late for fuchias.
- As the season goes on, the structure of flowers changes. They sometimes become tougher in texture, and the pigments often don’t give as much colour.
So here goes with this year’s experiments. I’m trying three combinations:
- Marigold heads, chopped off at the bottom of the petals, arranged as they fell.
- Dahlia leaves.
- Fuchsia and geranium flowers.
I think it is interesting how much thicker the roll containing marigold heads is. They are all sitting in a nice solar heated shed for a couple of weeks. Time will tell…