Tag Archives: eco printing

A Little This a Little That….

31 May

I love soup.  In fact, my favorite is Thursday night soup–soup made from leftovers of the week, all thrown together into a pot and seasoned accordingly–maybe with cumin, but always garlic and onion.  Usually it turns out pretty good.  Sometimes it’s horrible.

Eco printing, for me, is kinda like that soup.  A little this, a little that, and sometimes the combination is divine.  Of course, sometimes it’s not…absolutely not…unsalvage-ably bad.  Those duds aren’t happening with quite the regularity they once did.  For one thing I’ve finally started making notes of a sort.  And I’ve finally begun sampling as well.  These two practices have helped me avoid a lot of pitfalls, but the duds still happen, just less frequently.

There’s something else I’ve noticed about my eco prints.  Sometimes I really want order.  Geometric repetition.  Sometimes I want chaos.  Often I go for monochromatic results but more often than not I’m craving color.  Today’s scarves fall into this latter category–controlled chaos and a lot of color.  Wednesday soup de jour.

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From Primitive Icons to Ecoprinting

10 Apr

 

One night in 1990 I awoke from a deep sleep knowing I needed to set free–release–my primicons.  Primitive icons.  This need to create had a life of its own.   I started with rebar wire and paper mache.  Added wood chips to the mix–and paint.  Later covered the wire with muslin.  Anything that would hold shape.  I worked late into the nights.  My kitchen was no longer a place for meal preparation so much as an abode for these guys.  Years later when my dad gifted me a pile of rusted corrugated industrial roofing and an acetylene torch, their shape and stature grew.

I don’t know where these entities come from–or why.  But they’re still demanding “air time.”  And that is the dilemma I’m facing with eco printing.

I love what I consider to be the magic of eco printing.  Love the surprises.  The constant barrage of “what ifs?”  Love trying to understand why the various elements act and react as they do.  So there’s all of this.  And now I find myself moving into a different phase with the process.  Moving towards the things inside me–the ubiquitous primicons –that want out.

Primicons are the expressions that come out of me.  In truth, there are other forms I would like to explore–more palatable forms perhaps–but after almost 30 years of living with these beings, I accept that they are here to stay–will probably follow me into the great beyond.

They’ve been patient with my yearlong exploration of eco printing but today I experienced a minor revolt.  They want OUT.

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So I’m “experimenting” with process.  How to create in a way that eco prints and primicons can co-exist while maintaining the sustainable, environmentally benign characteristics of eco printing?

These  first, initial experiments have a ways to go.  And although I have concerns about their appeal–appeal of the primicon–clearly it’s a  moot point.

 

 

On Mindfulness

30 Mar

Have been wondering this–about mindfulness– wondering if I really know what it is. I thought I did until I reflected back upon yesterday.  And I will bring this full circle but first–

Yesterday I was very busy.  In the morning I set up the backdrop for a photo shoot. Involved wrangling two large stands against a brick wall and hanging a black background cloth.  At 10 a friend came over–modeled scarves to be added to the website.  One hour to visit & one hour to shoot. Quick lunch.

Then checking shipping options on website–could I find an app to calculate shipping based on zip code instead of just listing a flat rate?  Found nothing.  Worked on trying to download pics from ipad to pc.  PC  not recognizing Ipad.  Called Apple–on hold 28 minutes–finally spoke to a person who asked for my contact number because we had a poor connection–he said.   Muttered a few choice words when he didn’t call back then returned to laptop.  Pics were there.   (I’ll never figure this out.)  But the color from this morning’s shoot was totally different from the color of the previous afternoon–so a morning-light scarf looked nothing like the afternoon-light scarf.   Marveled over this a while.  The color of light.

And in the afternoon light I reshot some scarves.  A neighbor dropped in for a few minutes–dropped off potatoes.  Back to capturing images.

Then back to the “lab” as my sister calls it–she says other things, too, and hints that perhaps I’m a mad scientist–or a brewer of wild concoctions–of the witchy variety.  Rinsed and fixed four eco printed scarves from the previous day.

 

Caught up in the depth of the color and images–leaves floating on water–a pond–blue water–a magical place.  Then lots of this and that before retiring for the night.

Now back to mindfulness.  I felt very present during the day–totally immersed in what I was doing–focused.  Intentional. But I’ve always thought that mindfulness meant being aware that I’m practicing being mindful–like creating a space from where I observe self going through the day’s gymnastics.  And no, I wasn’t paying attention to how  I was maneuvering the flow of the day–but present to the what that I was doing.  In retrospect I was just right there.  Absorbed in each activity.  So I guess the question becomes–is being present the same thing as being mindful?

I’m wondering simply from a place of curiosity–nonjudgmental–just wondering.

(A sidebar:  Just now I typed the word “in”–except my hand had moved to the right by one key.  One over from what I was taught is the “home” position.  Try it. )

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www.thelanguageofleaves.com

 

 

 

Eco printing and Color in Carolina

28 Mar

Seems like the seasons are flattening out–one leading into the other w/o much transition or distinction.  But it’s spring now and color is back on this soil’s palette.  Now–if I were more literate technically you could already be viewing the mother of all forsythias.

But I’m not.  Not quite illiterate but nearly and it’s driving me nuts.  Like just now, I tried to download pics from phone to pc.  PC didn’t recognize iphone so I had to send each image as an email to my desktop.  Then I tried to save them to insert here and they’re off on some g-drive.  I found them and can look at them but that’s it.  No idea how to move them here because wordpress doesn’t support their current format.  Do I sound frustrated.  Back in a bit.

Okay. Had different options this time.

Now look at this–while trying to upload pics of the redbud, weld and woad, dogs’ morning-sniff-about I stumbled upon this option.  A slide show.  Does it work?  Too tedious?

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Forsythia is about 25′ in width.  Image does not convey the sunshine she emits. The single rosette green plant is weld–traditional plant for yellow.  When I eco print with it, though, it leaves a wonderful green image.  The other greens are woad–similar to indigo in the way it has to be processed to give up its color.

So what I’m loving about eco printing–in addition to its beauty–is the fact that the materials I need for working with it are simply a step out the front door.  I try really hard only to use foraged material–stuff that’s already fallen from the tree or plant.  Recycling energy.  I’m also intrigued by the notion of slow color–of letting botanicals brew for however long–but truth be told, I’m not good at waiting so generally use steam to facilitate the process.

Where I was leading with this is the fact that eco printing/natural dyeing has brought home to me the adverse impact commercially dyed fabric has on the environment.   And along those same lines I’m doing somewhat of an experiment.  Trying to see if I can go an entire year w/o buying anything  new–even if it comes from Goodwill.  And I’m upcycling garments that I haven’t worn in a few years–a dress and a shirt.  Big pockets on the front–essential for all the stuff I seem to gather in a day’s time.

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and this –a coat I made during the winter by felting wool from old sweaters. Repurposed, recycled, reused.  Another R word is trying to surface–two actually.  Returning and roots. As in an idea I may blog about later.

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That’s it for now.  And please may I get faster at blogging.

Oh wait–a fine green eco print that came about from light indigo over dyed with goldenrod.

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and if you’re so inclined–check out:  www.thelanguageofleaves.com

Ending Winter’s Hibernation

25 Mar

I’m reeling here.  Trying to remember how to do this.  Everything looks so different–format, layout, graphics.  Reeling because my last post was October 4… and for those of you who asked, I think I responded that soon, soon I would be ready to post again.  Clearly “soon” meant something else.  I also feel a little–just a little–like a prodigal blogger–returning home.

Winter was weird this year.  Not very cold.  Not very long.  But lots of changes taking place,  both internally and externally.  On the external side, I’ve got to confess that this year’s political circus really has my attention.  Not since George McGovern have I felt real passion for a candidate, and now it seems the stakes are really high.  I also feel as though I’m watching a cosmic drama unfold–and the characters seem so alien to me.  Yep–I’ve got the Bern.  Have it pretty bad.  Even made two phone calls for him before the SC primary, but quickly realized my contribution had to be elsewhere.

The phone call that really convinced me was the second one–a very deaf older woman and an equally deaf husband.  He didn’t want to talk–wasn’t one bit interested in anything related to Bernie Sanders–but he forgot to hang up and for a minute I overheard the conversation he was having with his wife.  Asking how the injury on her leg was–was it still bleeding–what should they do?  The interesting thing was I felt as though I had trespassed into they home.  Felt like an intruder.  A peeping tom.  So that was the end of that.

OK.  The externals.  And the internals–don’t want to really wax poetic here, but internally I’m sensing an integration that is pretty unfamiliar.  That’s all I’ll say for now.

In October I was just skimming the surface of eco printing.  Learning the process.  Understanding the leaves.  Identifying what worked and what didn’t.  And I’m still in that beginner’s mind phase, but the results are changing.  I love ecoprinting the way Grace loves cloth.  (I love cloth, too, and look at some of my old pieces with a new-found admiration).  But this ride on the back of eco printing feels like it may be a long one.

I’ve got a web site now and finally made the decision to try selling on line for real.  Utilizing social media.  Am I really saying this?  I ask myself that right now–“am I really saying this–am I really going to try?  And the answer is clearly “yes.”  That’s all.   The learning curve has been incredibly steep.  Incredibly.

Enough of this.  I really don’t imagine I’ll get many comments from this post–but I just had to make the effort to reconnect.  So here it is.  And for those who might be curious–here’s a few of the scarves I’ve recently printed, using various natural background–i.e. cochineal, logwood, yellow onion and cutch.

Logwood on left, cochineal on right.  And spring is right around the corner.  Sending love your way….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indigo and Eco Printing

20 Jul

Busy eco printing, finding what works, what doesn’t (plenty) and enjoying little magical moments of happenstance.  (Like the fact that baking soda turns red onion impressions from red/purple to blue green.)  The results have been staggering.DSC03308 DSC03309 DSC03313 DSC03316

Silk Scarves and Crow

2 Jul

I have a need for magic. For the mysterious. The unknown. A need for serendipity and chance. And I’m getting a huge dose of it. Eco printing. Doing things–things I often can’t repeat because even though I tell myself I’m taking good notes, when I refer back to them–well, let’s just say they don’t tell me much. But that’s the nature of a certain type of magic–it happens by itself.

I don’t know how long this phase will last–this passion for imprinting nature onto cloth. But right now I’m in the throes of it. A freezer near full of leaves.

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Saturday night I was visiting with friends–and had been asked to bring my current work. Scarves. Had no idea really how they would be received. Was hesitant. But the response was amazing. Three women of the three women there each bought a scarf. After much looking and deciding. Nothing I’ve ever created before has EVER been met with such enthusiasm. Yes, it was just three women — not a broad cross-sampling of the population–but for me it’s a sign and I’m taking it.   Items listed in Shopping Place.

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Sourwood
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Peony
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But for me the blessing–cloth has called me back. Crow surrounded by magic from the dye vat.crow

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