More eco prints on watercolour paper

Japanese Maple: green version! With a blue colour wash (left) from a Smokebush leaf.

I prepared my watercolour paper by soaking it in 25% alum and water, then layering  leaves, dried petals, tea , etc. between two sheets  of paper and steaming a stack of them under weights (three bricks) for an hour or so in a big old turkey roaster, tightly covered. The eco prints  came mostly from Japanese Maple (blues and greens), Sweet Gum (browns, yellows, ochres and sometimes yellow-green); Cotinus Coggygria  (blues, oranges, greens, purples…); Chokecherry (dark greens and blues); Ginkgo (light yellows); Blackberry (dark greens and purple).

1. A few of the above:

Yellow gingko, blue Japanese Maple and orange-green Smokebus (cotinus coggygria). I am enamoured of the watercolour wash effects created by the dyes leaking out from the leaves. Here are some details of my favourites:

1. Cotinus coggygria

2. And another Cotinus C. (Smokebush)

3. Yet another :

4. Blackberry- with thorns

5. Leaves layered on the left of the paper which was then folded over, giving  a mirror image print  but not quite…like two sides of a human face…

6. Another Mirror Print:

7. And one last one for this post:

I love the way the dyes settle into he fold of the paper and create a new design linking the leaf shapes and textures. More Monet than Morris, my motto for eco prints.

I used up whatever 140 lb watercolour paper I had in the studio, three different kinds, commonly available. Can’t say I have noticed any big differences so far but Cassandra Tondro says that papers do affect the print outocome. More fun to come!

Next post:  Some more leaf and dried petal prints and “kitchen” prints – cabbage, safflower and tea and the like but on fabrics. I have ordered some more silk and wool and that will be next, likely!



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I am an artist working in mixed media textiles and Artists' Books with a focus on vintage cloth reworked with stitching, natural dyeing, eco printing and rust printing . My work can be seen at

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