Skip to content

(Mis)Adventures in Eco Print 3

18 January, 2013

At last I seem to be getting somewhere with this colour transfer…

For this experiment I decided to try some other plants from the garden. I noticed that a hydrangea leaf when soaked in hot water even for a short time produced a lovely yellow. I collected some poplar leaves and small branches as the recent gales tore off a large branch from one of the shelter trees. We had to spend some time cutting up the large branch, and tidying up our neighbours’ paddock. So I thought to commemorate this, I would try the poplar leaves and twigs in a steamed eco-print.

Poplar branches

I modified my steaming process by using folded chicken wire in the bottom of the pot, which meant the lid fitted properly and so prevented too much steam escaping. The bundles were cotton with rice and alum mordant enclosing a poplar twig, bark and leaf, and silk soaked in alum enclosing poplar twig, bark and leaves plus one hydrangea leaf.



Yellow dye was visible on the silk once the steaming started, but very little on the cotton bundle, so that colour must not have come from the hydrangea leaf.

Here is the dyed silk cloth unwound.


And a close up of the imprint.

Poplar print

The cotton bundle was a little disappointing, plenty of yellow and a pale tan colour plus some nice marks left by the (previously used) cotton thread for tying. I think the yellow must have come from the lichen on the bark. The poplar leaf is only just visible at the foot of the fabric, the green leaf point just to the left of the piece of cotton thread.

Poplar cotton

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 31 January, 2013 3:40 pm

    you’ll find you get a much better print if you submerge the whole bundle in the pot, just at the simmering point, leave it for an hour, take it out and let it drain and cool, then unwrap either in the morning of the next day or the day after. steaming never worked for me!

    • 2 February, 2013 3:37 pm

      Thanks, Arlee,

      I keep trying! I am really excited by the whole process. I have subsequently had better results from hollyhock flowers. Will post the photos when I can find the time…


  2. 26 April, 2013 12:41 pm

    I’m like Arlee, I find submerging works better trhan steaming. But it must depend on the outcome you’re seeking!

  3. Madeline beaudry permalink
    6 June, 2013 5:55 am

    You will also get much bettr prints if you bind very tightly with string. Use more string and have the rotations of string very close together and very tight. Send me Andy e mail if you would like some pictures.

    • 7 July, 2013 12:20 pm

      Thanks Madeline, only just found your comment! I seem to have had better results lately – and I now get what you say.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Words for the Year

"drink from the well of your self and begin again" ~charles bukowski

Lili's Bookbinding Blog

Where I can share Bookbinding, Printmaking, Art, and Visually Pleasing Things

Feel Free

An Experiment in Gift Giving

robyn webster, artist


- A mixture of hand papermaking -

Exploring The Invisible

Works from a Liberal Scientist that reveal the hidden machinations of the natural world: the third way

The Botanist in the Kitchen

where botany meets the cutting board

The Roaming Ecologist

Searching for a healthy land ethic and learning from nature

Welcome to the Artists Alliance blog!

We're here because without artists there is no art.

Art is a Way

Art blog by Elsa Mora


subject to change

the CEHG blog

Computational, evolutionary and human genomics at Stanford

Natural anarchist

Lisa Hudson's Blog

Alpenglow Yarn

curlie's rovings

envirohistory NZ

People and the environment through history

Discoverylover's Blog

Snippets of my life...

%d bloggers like this: