Eco Prints for a Midwinter’s Day

Hems that got ripped off in irritation when my stitching went awry (see previous post) are nevertheless not to be wasted. They present a fine  new challenge: components of a  new textile. E.g.  They might be inviting as silken woven nest materials for elegant and princely local  birds and squirrels…

Last eco prints of 2011.

The last new eco prints of 2011 are for my “Silk Roads” collection of long shawls (100″ x 25″). Silk Roads 3 and Silk Roads 4 were printed with rust, safflower petals (dried, AKA “False Saffron”, cheap, from the local mid-east grocery), Darjeeling loose tea (Twinings, not that cheap), and enough red cabbage (not cheap either – from California) to mingle with the safflower to give a hint of chartreusey green-yellow as well as  some light blue-greys. Not quite a 100-mile dye  series in the Ottawa winter. So to allude to the travelling, the series is entitled “Silk Roads”

I wanted “midwinter” Ottawa colours: Soft ice blues (so not so much red cabbage), dead-leaf browns (less-is-more with the dried tea leaves), cloud greys (blues and browns poetically mingling), ochre-yellow sandstone  yellows (yellow safflower petals consorting with black tea ); weather-beaten iron-rust claiming dye and print rights over all…  

Silk Roads 3

Silk Roads 4

Another view of Silk Roads 4

Detail 1:

Detail 2:
Winter dye sources

 The dye stuffs for the “Silk Roads” series of ecoprinted shawls come from my kitchen:  cabbage, tea, false saffron and a rusty iron corn stick pan. Such will be the most reliable sources of dye colours for several months yet, for I have decided not to “import” dye stuffs grown elsewhere (as far as possible – we do have a lot of snow here…) but to at least stick with what I can buy at the grocery store, or have saved from my garden and environs.

The last greeneries amd blooms from my garden (outdoors but some from indoors, too) produced these prints on long silk (100″ x 25″) shawls:

Fall Bouquet:

The bright red-oranges are from faded dahlia blooms,  blues from (winter) Ice Pansies, yellows from dead tagetes, dark green-greys from rose leaves, bright greens from perennial geranium leaves, purple-greys from prunus cistena (Purple Sandcherry). Sigh.

Fig and Oak

Sounds like a good name for a corner pub as well as for a silk shawl.  Oak leaves blown in from a nearby tree, fig leaves (ficus carica) from my indoor plant; some cotinus coggygria, too, to avoid predictability. The blue cotinus print overlapped with the fig yellows.

Maybe “Oak and Fif” instead of “Fig and Oak”? Not sure about the linguistic protocols for the naming of pubs – perhaps some linguist out there would know… Anyway, here is the large oak leaf (variety not known) print in detail:

While the dried fall oak leaf printed with precise brown dots in outlines, the fresh indoor fig leaf splurged its juicy green everywhere.

Next posts:

New Year Surprises…

1. I do have to update several of my  other pages about dye plants, stitching vintage textiles etc…

2. The City of Ottawa has also purchased some of my art this year for its permanent collection…I am beginning a new series “Forest Floor” for a show at The Trinity, a public (city) gallery here in Ottawa next July. It will be my first opportunity to show all my eco and rust printed and stitched work  in one place, vintage and otherwise.  I am planning to document the collection here. I am interested in working on the concept of “disruptive patterning”, (AKA camouflage) with which eco printed textiles have much in common in my opinion. 

“Camouflage” references: 

This first book accompanied a  most interesting textile and camouflage media exhibit at the Canadian War Museum (Ottawa) a couple of years ago:

And this second book  is a classic on the topic of camouflage patterns on cloth and anywhere else:

A happy and blessed holiday season to all who happen by this blog and a happy and blessed new year, too.  Thank you for reading  and sharing.



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
This entry was posted in Art Cloth, Rust Printing, Stitching Eco Prints, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Eco Prints for a Midwinter’s Day

  1. Julie says:

    …and thank you for sharing your wonderful experiments.
    Best of the season to you from the end of the country (Vancouver) where we still have leaves on some trees (I saw a variety of maple today, with leaves still firmly attached!)

    • wendyfe says:

      The same good wishes to you, Julie… it will not be long before the camellias are in bloom in Vancouver – I wonder how they would print???? I wonder , too, how the colours from fresh (attached) maple leaves print as compared to the ones that fall?


  2. arlee says:

    You are one busy focused woman! Congrats on the July show!

    I try my best too to use local vegetation, but unfortunately Calgary winter gets rather sparse 🙂 Does the fact that the local flower mines are within 100 miles count? ( Well, if the stuff *is* imported, but i yearn for green things …..:) ) Maybe i need to strip my indoor plants!

    Silk Roads 4 is to dye for, pun intended.

    • wendyfe says:

      Arlee de Calgaree,

      Thanks for the cheers! Re the “100 Mile Dye-et” – am not that Granola about it…pragmatism has ruled in 2011, the Year of the Stash (to be busted – I will simply not live long enough to use it all…) the goal was to buy the minimum and use the available…The challenge was to use dye sources around me…except for the Enticing Eucalyptus…But I will likely be using what what you are eying, the house plants…the florist’s detritus…or green stuff under the snow like perennial geranium…and I will maybe cave in and BUY some madder root..The stash issue is not resolved but burgeoning in another direction: a big stash of eco printed textiles in need of a home…that is TBD, too….We will be in Georgia late Jan – wondering if I can bring back some Georgia greenery.

      Joy to your world!


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