The little outdoor eco-dyeing and printing kitchen is complete now, with the addition of a two-burner cook top. Using slow cookers worked nicely to extract color from some of the organic elements, but I think steam and higher heat is needed for the next step: to get more intense colors in the surface design. This focus has transformed my daily walks with Elsa the Labradoodle. I’ve always loved these walks, and felt energized by seeing how the neighborhood transforms every single day. Now I see it differently: a windfall of sycamore bark, a handful of chestnuts, a pile of oak leaves with big galls. The challenge now is to limit my gleaning… even though I know winter is coming: to organize, label and store elements for a winter of continuing to explore eco-dyeing and eco-printing, and to combine this with feltmaking, and to share this re-enchantment with others. It’s exciting to have a collection of silk scarves I’ve worked on the past few weeks, with multiple layers of color and pattern from elderberries, leaves and chestnuts and from the ways that bundling the fabric and botanical elements created pattern from the wrapping and tying. It’s taken a lot of time to figure out the first step! Now, as I figure out more about surface design in eco-printing, and all of the unpredictable magic of this process, I am longing to express themes via this technique; and I am wondering if others would be as enchanted as I am to explore this way of artmaking. The idea of learning the technique well enough to guide others to explore eco-dyeing and printing is very appealing, in a “let’s go camping in our own back yard” kind of way.

Published in: on September 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment