I have been playing around with eco dyeing for quite a few years now – since I saw India Flint conducting a workshop at Fibres West and subsequently purchasing her book Eco Colour. I mostly use what is on our small block here in the South West of Australia and as we have quite a few E. globulus I have used the leaves quite a lot – they smell absolutely divine bubbling away in the dyepot and have produced green and brown prints from the leaves. During the wonderful workshop India conducted here in April I remember asking her which Eucalypt species were producing some vibrant orange prints and was surprised that she replied E. globulus. I have been dyeing a few scarves in the past couple of weeks and wanted some without orange on them so thought it would be safe to bundle a bit of E. globulus.
I had a little parcel unwrapping session yesterday and was amazed to find Murphys Law had been at work – orange prints! Nature is wonderful.
Silk scarf eco printed with E. golbulus
I am working on an artist’s book at the moment and having the dyepot fired up for the garments in the previous post I threw in some Nepalese Lokta paper bundled up with some eucalyptus leaves.
When I unwrapped the bundle i was so pleased with the depth of colour and the prints from E. nicholii.
Eco dyed lokta paper
detail of eco dyed lokta paper
I really enjoy working on commissioned books, discussing what form the book will take and letting it evolve during the making is a pleasurable task. Over the past couple of weeks I have been reflecting on the life of a friend and neighbour who sadly lost his battle with that insidious disease, cancer, recently. I have been remembering fondly his generous nature, always welcoming people to his home, quick to help anyone in need. I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone. He was truly a gentle man. He will be remembered by his friends and family without any need for prompts, but his wife requested a book to hold tangible memories and written tributes. I tried to pay homage to his love of his bush home by using snippets of eco dyed fabrics and commercially printed cottons with australian native plants printed on them and added vintage crochet doily snippets and vintage buttons and lace because I knew it would be something his wife would appreciate. Nothing can ease the pain of losing someone so important, but I hope this will go a little way to show how much we appreciated knowing this special person.
Memory book for a special man
I had not fired up the dyepot since May and quite a lot of eco dyed scarves have gone to other homes lately, so I took advantage of a day with not a lot of wind to cook up some eco dyed bundles.
I was thrilled with the merino wool sleeveless top that came out with some really clear prints, and before I had a chance to take a photo – it was sold. I will have to try and find time to dye again next week – I am sure nature will reveal some more awesome prints but can guarantee they won’t be the same as this week!
This is a detail of my favourite scarf from this dye batch.
Eucalypt print on silk scarf
Life is a little quieter now after that burst of workshop energy. I must confess to have been extremely tired after India Flint’s workshop here but of course managed a little energy burst to put a few bits of fabric in the dyepot leftover from the workshop. Two scarf lengths are particularly attractive to me and it has taken a great strength of will to put labels and prices on them!
Australian Merino Wool Challis scarf eco coloured with E. cinerea, E nicholii and Agonis flexuosa $45
Silk/Australian Merino Wool voile scarf – eco coloured with eucalypt leaves $45
Wool loves eco dyes and generally leaves used in the dyeing process make some lovely prints. This really cute up cycled pure wool cardigan has come up really nicely. I have just finished stitching some love onto the front right hand side of the cardie – silk patches stitched with silk thread. I think I may have to rush into town when the gallery closes and purchase some nicer buttons. What do you think?
Upcycled pure wool cardigan – eco dyed $50
- This is the back of the cardigan – lovely resist marks from a spray of eucalypt leaves