Monday, February 20, 2012

3 Ecco Printed silk Scarves and 1 Eco Printed Tee Shirt = 4 Blue Ribbons!

I decided to enter the County Fair with three of the silk scarves pictured on the left (the two outside scarves in the top photo and the scarf in the next photo down).  I also entered an Eco Printed cotton Tee Shirt.  All total, they won 4 blue ribbons.  I was very surprised, not many people in my rural county know what eco printing is, much less natural dyeing.  But I guess beauty wins out in any case.  The scarves are lovely to look at and feel.  The Tee shirt was popular with many hunters and fishermen because it looked like a camoflage shirt.
Of course, it made me very happy that they were so well received.!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Spread the Word!

It is becoming more and more obvious to me that the use of natural plant materials to make dyes, inks and other things is spreading rapidly.  I have given a few speeches locally, and taught a few workshops; and now the request for more are rolling in.  I am of course very happy.  I have become fairly passionate about what I do and I would like the whole World to enjoy it as much as I.
My reasons for getting started in this were quite simple, my reasons for staying with this and pushing it further is more complex.  There is something wonderful about taking simple, natural items and creating something of beauty with them that warms the inner being.  Why shouldn't I use Nature's gifts to do what makes me feel good?  Our World has become so complicated and technical that we have lost our connection with Nature.  We use to take a vacation and dedicate it to visiting one National Park or  Historical place.  Now, we jump on a tour bus and in 3 days we can cover 7 or 8 places and thereby gain knowledge of the World!

Natural dyeing and Eco printing have given me back the feeling of discovery!

I have a childlike wonder again, something I sadly missed.  I admit I have become quite jaded and cynical due to the various careers I have had.  I can pickup a leaf and see its texture, color and shape; but it doesn't stop there.  I also see the subtle little changes in color that indicate there is more inside.  I now look at all of the parts of the leaf, not just the immediately visible surface.  Now I think, "I wonder how this will print on fabric or paper, how can I extract this beautiful color before it has gone?"

At 69 yrs. old it is a wonderful thing to have a renewed interest in Life and find joy in the simple things again.  I makes me want to shout from the rooftops, "The World is at your feet, pick it up, look at it, It's wonderful!"

I am a Virgo.  Sometimes considered to be a real organizer, planner and full steam ahead doer.  Sometimes I am a bit of a perfectionist.  Ha.  Nature can sure change all that!  When you work with natural things, you learn that we are but one pebble in the stream, and just when we thought we had it down pat, Nature shows us there is still a lot to learn.

This blog entry got a little wordy, but I wanted to tell you how much this art form has meant to me and what I have discovered about myself along the way.  I would like each of you to look at what you have discovered about the techniques and how the knowledge has changed the way you view the World.  We are truly an international community, we share that same thrill of discovery, the practicality of what we do, and we leave the World a little better off because we have done it.

Enjoy your dyeing, tell your friends about it, encourage more interest in it and share your knowledge willingly and freely.....Now go!  Back to the dyepots!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Eco Prints on Paper II

Well, I'm off again, seeking new adventure on paper.  My latest inspiration came to me while making spachetti sauce.  I was sprinkling Italian Seasoning into the pot when I though "What if" I did something like this only prints?  Not daunted by much, I set my sauce to simmer, got out some broken leaves and other plant materials, a ziplock bag and a rolling pin.  I place the materials in the Ziplock bag and crushed them with the rolling pin.  Then I place them in an empty shaker bottle.  I set some printmaking paper to soak in a pot of alum mordant I had prepared for cloth, and gathered dried leaves, berries, some rusty wire from a burned automobile tire and my trusty rice cooker.  After soaking my papers, I began so stack paper, leaves, sprinkles of plant material, etc. until I had a nice stack.  I placed the stack in my rice cooker and added 3 cups of a fern root and bladder extract.  I steamed for 1.5 hrs. and left in the pot covered overnight.  The attached photos will show the final results.  I was glad to discover that you could use more than watercolor paper to make prints.