Midwinter Eco-printed Scrolls


In just a few days, the darkest days will be over and light will stay with us longer! This post, I had been hoping to share some pics of illuminated MSS on loan from the Bodleian to the Jewish Museum in NY…unfortunately, I seem to have lost them somewhere in cyberspace.( I learned from “The Art of the Saint John's Bible” by Susan Sink that the term “illuminated” refers to the gold used for illustrations in the manuscripts. ) So instead, I offer some images of my dye garden in midsummer and midwinter as illumination to your imagination!

Midsummer past:

Midwinter present:

The harvest of that garden keeps me close to summer all year. Besides the dye flowers you see in the summer garden ( coreopsis, tagetes, amaranthus, baptisia australis, borage, basil, viola ticolor) nearby are Red Maple (acer rubrum), Sugar Maple (acer saccharum), Silver Maple (acer saccharinum) Chokecherry (prunus virginiana) and from the kitchen, tea (camellia sinensis).

In the fall I eco-printed watercolour papers with tree leaves as content for another series of botanical scrolls (suite to my textile scrolls exhibited in July), artist books entitled “New World Scroll” . Some images:

Rust and leaf eco prints provide form and content of the New World Scroll. as does the book's accordion structure. The first books were in scroll form, flat or pleated or slatted (depending on its culture of origin). I am using paper to recall ancient form and marking it with plant dyes as a contemporary take on ancient practice, and also as a comment on disappearing traditional natural dyeing knowledge and skills, a loss now connected with disappearing plant diversity and ecological imbalance.

I have handwritten the names of the plants in Latin and English as is proper to a botanical document but in pleated scroll style. I have to say I was hesitating to use my own hand ….dreamed of perfect type from an elegant letterpress…but concept and earthiness won out. Hands on, the powerful presence of a maker in the lettering.

The plants recorded on the scroll are both native and immigrant, a witness to the ideal of a global sharing of knowledge and skill for the benefit of all. A blog, kind of.

Each double spread is inserted inside a fold in the accordion spine and presents four different prints. There are twenty-four eco- printed pages, two eco-printed end papers and a set of eco- printed and embroidered linen covers.

Some closer looks:

The embroidered and printed covers refer to traditional skills and knowledge that have faded away but which are being recovered gradually in textile circles – women's work, mainly…and with new appreciation for the artistry in the ancient practices.

Chokecherry and Red Maple pages in the scroll

Chokecherry pages

Simple pamphlet stitch spine

Opening the scroll

Next time:

More book arts!

And more NYC because that is where I will be spending Christmas. I wish you all the blessings of this holy season




9 thoughts on “Midwinter Eco-printed Scrolls

  1. Hi, down here in New Zealand I am at the opposite to you – the weather has only just warmed up, so the coming solstice will herald the cold weather again. Every year I feel almost as if I were being denied the pleasure of the summer sun too soon. I have just found your fantastic site; have been trying to get plant colours on to paper – thinking, the paper is cotton, so it must work… Thank you so much for sharing your lovely images and ideas. Seasons greetings and hope the winter is kind to you.

    1. Hi Celia!
      Thank you so much for connecting. I had seen your most interesting work with natural pigments some time ago but lost your link. What a fascinating field!I am reading about medieval dye uses of pigments from soils etc as well as plants. I love the idea of rediscovering lost and useful knowledge and of applying it in new ways.
      Merry Christmas!

      PS – my friend and textile artist colleague Karen Goetzinger from Ottawa will be travelling to NZ to give a course during your 2013 winter, I think!


      1. Hi Wendy, lovely to hear back from you – thank you! If you friend does come to NZ, it would be great to know. Perhaps I might be interested in the course.
        Happy Christmas

  2. Your work continues to grow and deepen with meaning. Your New World Scroll documents and features the true beauty of each species of plant that shares its image with ecoprinting. Your sharing is so inspirational.


  3. Hi Wendy,
    Such a fabulous work ! I’m a French printmaker so I live much too far from you to attend a workshop but would love to. I’m going to try on my own … we’ll see how it works ?? Thanks for sharing !

    1. Thank you, Mimi.
      You can do it on your own! I did. And there is a lot more info and inspiring developmemt now on the web and in articles
      than when I began ecoprinting 5 years ago. You will love it!


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