Eco prints with Black Walnut, Eucalyptus and Catalpa Pods on silk, wool and vintage linen

So the Black Walnuts were steeping in a plastic bucket outside on the deck, with another bucket of dye (marigold) on top to keep the squirrels and the raccoons out.

Alas:

 Only a mess and 25 walnuts left…

..by that hairy, healthy squirrel culprit:

So I tied the walnuts up in a vintage damask  linen tablecloth and simmered them in a dye pot of their soaking liquid:

I left the linen soaking for several more days because walnut dye does not colour deeply on linen but a longer steep can add depth.

Next tried was the walnut dye on wool,  a vintage (sallyann) sweater, part lamb’s wool and part wool jersey, with the seams cut out.  To make the eco bundle, I layered on Seeded and Baby Blue Eucalyptus (from the florist: I can’t grow eucalyptus in my USDA Zone 4 garden so  I cheated) as well as some  rusty nails and bits, then rolled the sweater parts over fat twigs, copper pipe, even catalpa pods and eucalyptus stalks; then  tied each bundle  up with lots and lots of cotton string wound round and round to make lots of string marks; steamed a while; then dunked them all into the walnut bath, leaving them to simmer at 160 – 180 degrees for an hour or so:

The outside of the wool bundles took on the dark brown of the walnut dye with string resist marks. The inside of the bundles took on dye leaks in paler browns and the eucalyptus dyed yellow;  the rusty bits dyed black..and one other bit was an acorn cap – it made the circle print. More:

Yellow eucalyptus prints, brown walnut with string resist, and – ta da! -a Red Ornamental corn print on the left.  I wrapped one of the wool fragments around this ear of dry red corn to make the eco bundle:

Even after steaming/soaking , the corn kernels remained dry enough for use in other bundles.

Here are the catalpa pods – they  print dark red  brown. I used them to wrap the textiles around as well as for printing: 

Marigold -dyed silk bundled over several catalpa pods: 

And after steaming for an hour:

A detail look:

PS. Do not wrap the bundle in weird synthetic threads as I did for the catalpa pod print: the thread was melted by the steam and then bonded to the silk -I  had to scrape it off. 

 Next posts will be about eco prints with Sweet Gum, eucalyptus and maple – plus eco prints on water colour  paper.

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About wendyfe

I am a fibre artist working in mixed media textiles with a focus on vintage cloth reworked with stitching, natural dyeing, eco printing and rust printing . My work can be seen at www.wendyfeldberg.ca.
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