Setting Up an Outdoor Studio for Eco-Dyeing and Eco-Printing

A salvaged table, some pre-owned crock pots and a copper vessel (that were gifts from kind friends, for which I’m grateful!), a brass vase and wooden spatula from Goodwill, our old aluminum covered roaster and some old tin cookie cutters: these are the elements for a little outdoor studio, the basics for making natural dyes and making botanical eco-prints. The aluminum, copper, brass and tin will be co-mordants, influencing the natural colors.


In my first explorations with this alchemy I soaked the pieces of silk overnight or longer, some with a vinegar/water solution, and some with leaves and bark and berries I had let soak in some vinegar/water. I used mostly eucalyptus and elderberries on silk, layering colors and design with repeated bundling and heating. These first pieces will rest for a while, then I’ll steam iron them and rinse with cool water… and see what remains.




The birds kept me company while I set up the space… A large stainless steel covered pot and electric two-burner cook top will complete the dye kitchen. A bouquet of seeded eucalyptus, along with more elderberries and a variety of leaves and chestnuts gleaned from walks with the dog are all waiting… I wish everyone could feel this simple abundance: I feel so grateful for this small outdoor covered space, and grateful for the variety of botanical raw materials that appear like magic! overnight! on sidewalks, which I glean during my daily walks. I’m grateful for the time to explore.


Published in: on September 23, 2014 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment