Saturday, 19 September 2015


In my previous posts here and here I showed two books that I made during the Summer School.  Today I thought I'd share some another technique that we used - eco printing.  I have used plants before to create prints but not in this way, so I was excited to see how easy and effective this was.
Alice had collected a wonderful array of plant life and also encouraged us to go outside to forage.

But first she demonstrated the technique:

We folded a sheet of thick cartridge paper in half lengthways, then in half again, and again. Then we unfolded it and in between the folds we placed leaves, petals, and onion skins. 

Finally we secured the folds together using bull dog clips. With the paper tightly folded and bound we put it into a bath of green tea to soak thoroughly. 

Then it went outside under cover with all the other pieces that we had prepared..... 

Skip forward to day three! 

It takes time for the plants to do their magic and because the layers are so thick and wet patience is needed. Finally Alice gave the go ahead for us to open our pieces! Imagine our excitement!

There were squeals of delight as wrappings were removed.  Some of the fabric and paper was still wet so this was hung on a line or laid out on the path to dry. Luckily the sun was shining and it is best to allow natural drying process, but in some cases desperation took over and we used sources of heat to finish of the drying process.  A heat gun, iron or even hair dryer would do the trick but you have to be careful if your paper is embossed or you want to retain the textures. 

Here I am unwrapping mine:
Did you notice the string and label on my wrapping? Well I liked the way they took on colour and I went on to use them on another project linked at the start of this post. On other eco-plant prints we used string as a binding. When removed I discovered this left marks which can add to the design.  But I digress! 

I need to unfold...

 And here is my finished print.   I especially loved the effect of onion skins and when I am in the kitchen I will save all these in future so that I have a ready supply. 

Another technique we used was printing with ink and a brayer. I decided to fill in some of the white space using found items such as feathers and leaves, and because I didn't want to use the holes in the way I originally planned I cut these off. I also cut my page into  strips and stitched these together to make one long strip.  Alice's love of needle and thread is catching! 

I glued the strips of holes onto some of the pages as I liked the detail they added. I plan to add further stitching too, to add texture to the prints.  And I am thinking of adding some text, handwritten, perhaps following the contour of the print...


But for now I am letting the ideas germinate because like the eco prints, these are sometimes best given time to develop. 

I will be using this technique often in future and love the idea of creating prints anytime, anywhere. All I need is paper, plants, and something to bind them. Oh!  And a mug of tea (no milk thank you!)  

I still have more from the Summer School to share but I have other posts waiting too.  So I hope to see you again soon, thanks for popping by.
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