Eco Print Silk Bundles – Montbretia flowers

Another misadventure?  But with a happy outcome.


In February, I used my last large piece of silk, to enclose montbretia flowers, hydrangea leaves, hypericum leaves, dock seeds on a stem x 4, and pink dahlia buds (broken up), and put on to steam for 30 minutes on a low heat (No 2 setting). Accompanying this bundle was a smaller one, containing the same material except without the dock seeds.  Put the lid on the pot and made sure the steam was not too fierce.

After a while, because of a strong blast of wind as the southerly front arrived, I had to concentrate on quickly picking up the cabbage tree leaves (Cordyline australis) off the back lawn.  I thought of the possible steam damage, and finding a new cabbage leaf (it’s supple) I had the idea of using that for an outer cover – which you can see above in the photo.  Wondered if it would transfer any colour as well.  A piece of bark, possibly Acacia melynoxilon, was also added on top.  The water seemed to have stopped steaming so I upped the temperature to 2.5 for the last ten minutes.

At this point the small bundle was taken out.  At both ends of the bundle I dropped on some red cabbage dye (turned blue by the action of some ash mordant) and then some wineberry dye in the middle.  It was left to dry on a piece of paper, but as a lot of the dye came out of the bundle, I put it back in the steam pot once that was turned off.


The large bundle was next subjected to 30 more minutes of steaming as some of the pink colour inside was not transferring to the silk.  The montbretia petals dyed the silk a lovely golden yellow.  When that was done, I left both bundles on the rack overnight.  I decided to keep both bundles to mature for one month, which I did by leaving them in separate open snap lock bags, and untying them on 11 March.


This was the result!  A rather sorry looking object, mouldy and still damp in the middle.

Here is the opened large bundle!


The large leaf here is hypericum, leaving a red stain.  Lots of decayed plant material.


And this is the cleaned, ironed bundle:



The smaller silk bundle: