Black Turtle Bean, dye

Saw Grackleandsun‘s blog on black bean dyeing, so I thought I would add this information on my recent test.  I used Black Turtle beans – not sure if these are the ones used in dyeing by Grackleandsun, but according to Wikipedia – “Black turtle bean is a small, shiny variety of common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), especially popular in Latin American cuisine, though it can also be found in Cajun and Creole cuisines of south Louisiana. They are often called simply black beans.”

I coloured mordanted cotton and non-mordanted silk and also used the dye straight from the solar dye pot on the page.  it gave a lovely colour.  Eventually the jar did rather pong!

Anyway, here’s the page from my test book;

Turtle-Bean-dye-test-page

Kozo Tea Iron

This latest experiment was about getting a contact print through an immersion in a cold dye, in this case tea. I used two strips of dry folded kozo paper that I had previously drawn on with sumi ink;  one piece was held together with a metal bull dog clip.  A stack of dry printmaking paper was interlaid with leaves and seeds,  then sandwiched between two sheets of perspex and clipped together with paper clips.  All three packages were immersed in the tea dye container for a few hours.  The darker dye (caused by the metal clip in the tea) remained in situ around the bundle while the liquid was motionless.  As I removed the papers I could see the reaction of the iron on the tea slowly take place over the rest of the dye and turn it completely black.

The kozo paper was squeezed in the hand when taken out of the tea dye to get the lovely ’embossing’ (the photo does not really do it justice).  I am very pleased with the abstract nature of the results, even though the plant material left little in the way of images on the printmaking paper, but there are some impressions – a trace of the leaves on some sheets.  There are also a few traces of other colours from the plant material.  Some of the seeds left a darker spot on the paper.

There is a tension here (freedom and control) between allowing enough moisture into the stack and the pressure required to achieve images of the plant material.  Perhaps the paper in the stack should have been damp which might have allowed more wicking of the dye.  Needs more investigation.

Some of the tonal variation occurred as the printmaking paper was removed from the stack.  I tried to restrict disturbing the remaining dye but some of this did happen of course!  The printmaking paper has much value as a base layer for further work.

 

Kozo-and-print-paper

Dyeing Scraps with Tea and Rust

Being a Jill of all trades, I was prompted to have another go with metal and tannin by an article in Wendy Feldberg’s blog Threadborne.  I am switching from researching, to seed collecting, to sewing up clothes and soft furnishings, to printing, to photography, to collecting more rocks for pigments,  to drawing and back again with great rapidity at the moment.  So this dip into dyeing is yet another experiment.  Making the invisible visible through chance.

My intention for this project was to get some pieces of cloth that I could use in my art work.  I had one bath with just the tea and tea bags, and the other with the metal and tannin.  I tried to combine the two dyes, moving some bundles from the tea to the metal bath and leaving part of the bundle above the dye so it was just dipped into the liquid.

The results from the dye session were good, better than expected.  It was a simple process compared to other dye sessions I have done that took much more of my time – or I should say – my presence, watching and checking.  I used some new squares of light weight cotton with a glazed  surface on one side, together with some old sheeting and clothing.   The glazed side accepted the ‘dye’ the same as the unglazed side.  I am thinking I might try printing on this fabric…

Cloths were rolled or folded, then bundled, clipped and tied.  I actually had two dyeing sessions, refreshing the initial brew with more tea, tea bags and vinegar.  The metal was rusty scraps, coins, bulldog clips, an old metal zip, and some aluminium foil (don’t think that did anything) all in a plastic ice cream 1 litre tub. Once out of these cold dye baths – one was overnight, the second one day – the cloths were rinsed, then left for a short while in salty water, then washed with Ecostore hand wash liquid soap that sits in the laundry.  I was very lazy, but really I only had machine washing powder as the other option.  And I felt the hand wash liquid would be softer on the dye.  Anyway, it worked fine.

After drying, the cloths were ironed – once flattened the magic really became apparent.  I included some pink rose petals and leaves in one bundle.  The petals left a pale green colour, and there is a mysterious very pale pink – cannot image where that came from, but it may have been a label that was attached to the plastic mesh bag as it was not from the rose petals.  I included the bag hoping to get an impression of the grid, but that didn’t happen.  I also folded a piece of acid free office computer paper and put that in the second dye bath.

 

 

Dyed-brew

Dyed-scraps-overview

Dyed-multi

Dyed-repeat

Dyed-paper

Dyed-scraps-petals

December prints

A few prints, one produced at home, and the others at printing group.

This print is produced with Akua inks, on a smooth card, and I used my printer at home.  The print is taken directly off some old wallpaper that came from my parents house.  The original illustration of what I think may be a conifer is pale green, but here I used red and it suggests the NZ Christmas tree – Pohutukawa!  I used this print to make Christmas cards for family and friends.

Christmas-print-web

 

I’ve always had an interest in pottery, probably because of the glazes, but I really like the shapes of vessels and I am also presently researching cardial ware pottery.  The next two images are of prints I made using a piece of flat, smooth polystyrene packaging that came with food from the supermarket (nice to recycle!).  I traced the outline, cut the shape out and used a pointed etching tool to impress the marks.  I am still learning, so it is helpful to have an image I can work up on a block quickly, then be able to concentrate on the printing process itself.  I used two small pieces of polystyrene joined with masking tape at the back, and the marks and pits on the surface of the polystyrene helped to suggest the surface of clay pottery ware – as you can see below.  I really think these printing block are artworks in their own right.

Cardial-ware-block

I found the cardial ware pottery image by Joanbanjo on Wikimedia Commons.  The neolithic pot is described as decorated impressed ware, from the Cova de l’Or de Beniarrés, (5000 – 4200 BC) in the Museu de Prehistòria de València.  I used water based printing ink and dry paper for these works.

 

Cardial-ware-Villanova2-print

Cardial-ware-Villanova-print
Credits:   http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AVas_amb_decoraci%C3%B3_impresa_cardial%2C_Cova_de_l’Or_de_Beniarr%C3%A9s%2C_Museu_de_Prehist%C3%B2ria_de_Val%C3%A8ncia.JPG

By Joanbanjo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons from Wikimedia Commons

Finally from the garden, a photo of poppies for 2014 – red for love and tinged with white for peace.

I wish everybody a safe and bountiful 2015!

 

Poppies-for-2014

Red Freesia Solar Dye

Freesia red

In November, when I was clearing the dead spring bulb foliage, I kept a few dried flowers from some of the freesias we had grown this year.  The thought crossed my mind – I wonder if they will provide colour as the dried flowers were still orange-yellow.  As you can see the freesia flower was a deeply coloured red.  Below is a photo of the solar dye in progress.  The colour appeared almost immediately.  You can see that the stalk was still green, just the petals were dry and papery.  Inserted in the jar was a piece of unmordanted folded woollen fabric.

freesia-solar-dye

The colour  on the woollen fabric was rather dull, and seemed to attract a brown coloration on the fold.  I noticed this also occurring at the edges of the colour when applied to paper.

red-freesia-wool

Red-freesia-on-paper

A print book

Time for this has been scarce recently, so I thought I should try to get another post in before 2014.

Some of my eco prints on paper have been made into artists books.  This one is a ten-page ‘concertina’ book.  It is a little difficult to present these books; however, here is a scan of the cover and the last page…

print-book-1

The cover image is printed onto handmade paper by Mark Lander.  The wood-block type of print (using a plastic block and a Dremel tool) was made in 2012.  The pages each have a line from the poem by Robert Frost – Gathering Leaves – and I have written these words with ink from Harakeke, the New Zealand flax plant.  The autumn leaves all come from our garden here in Oxford, and are a collection of prunus, oak, sycamore, cotinus, acer, pin oak and ash leaves – the coloured deciduous leaves all providing good elements for transfer to the paper which was dipped in alum first.  The dark brown on the pages below is provided by a piece of harakeke seed pod.

print-book-2

Dyes on Paper

As the main purpose for starting solar dyeing with plants was to find more organic colours that I could use on paper, I record here some of my recent paper experiments.  This first one is on kozo (mulberry)  paper, and coloured by a pomegranite skin solar dye.  I squashed the folded paper into the jar, and really like the way the scrunched and twisted paper keeps its shape when dry.  I am not sure where the dark marks came from.

Kozo-pomegranite

I have also experimented with Knotweed – Persicaria.   Knotweed grows in my veggie patch.  There are two varieties – one smaller than the other.  The smallest one, P. maculosa, has been used here.  It seems simpler just to scan my test book pages! – here they are:

Persicaria-paper-tests

This is the page for Privet berries.   They are poisonous, by the way.  The colour has lasted well in the solar dye jars, and each brew is different.  I have not achieved a blue which you can get with adding alum and salt.  One source said the berries had to be ripe in order to do this.  I collected two lots, the second one of which is this test.  The berries were round and plump, seemed to be very ripe, but apparently, perhaps, not…

Privet-berries-paper-test

This next page is abut Viburnum tinus.  I solar dyed the drupes which are a beautiful steely blue.  It is interesting how the colours change according to type of paper or textile to which they are applied.

Viburnum-paper-tests