Clearer ecoprints

lubhelu textiles

I am continuing to try to create clearer prints with the dark tannin backgrounds. I decided to return to using a sheet of plastic in the roll to block cross contamination of the print through the tight roll.

I have some very fine gauze which I bought in a lot of remnants. I dont know what the fabric is unfortunately, but when I did a burn test the fabric did not make little beads or melt so I think that it is a natural fabric of some kind.

I thought that it might be fun to print onto this gauze and use my old cotton sheet strips as the blanket. So I mordanted the gauze in Alum and soda Ash and then soaked it in a ferrous 4% solution for 10 mins just before dyeing. ( not rinsed)

The tannin blanket I put into my premade sumac tannin mix ( see the previous post ). I put it into a very hot pot of this and then let it cool in the pot for an hour.

Thereafter I laid the old plastic sheet ( used previously) on the floor , placed the Iron Mordanted gauze over that and then carefully laid out the leaves. I placed the leaves bottom side down to the gauze and experimented with hop vines, and a climbing vine weed ( the annoying one that spreads fluffy seeds ) some linden leaves and berries, tulip tree leaves and some very young teasel flowers that I had presoaked in water to soften them.

I then took the tannin soaked blanket and squeezed it well – then carefully placed on the top. I then rolled it all up very carefully and tight around my cherry wood branch. I bound it all very tight with string.

I steamed it for 90 mins over the tannin bath ( pot ) that I had soaked the blanket in. ( This was purely for ease of use as it was standing there and in my biggest pot. )

I then cooled the roll and unwound it. To my suprise the gauze had not printed very clearly ( mainly black with Iron coloured sploges ) but the Tannin blanket was lovely. The prints were very clear and the tannin blanket steamed to a dark purple/grey background.

see the vine tendrils

What I loved was that the vines had clear prints of the spirals and shoots and I will work more with vines. The prints were very clear but there was not much ‘printing’ of the leaves details – it was more like perfect resist prints of the leaves. This could have been because I had placed them on the gauze and the upside of the leaves were facing the tannin blanket? I need to work on this more. It was also clear where the fabric had bunched up in the roll as the branch is not smooth and this left lines across the print.

I have been using my tests to try out as many plants as possible, but now I need to think more about composition.

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