Eco Prints To Start The Year

Happy New Year in art to us all!

This is what my dye garden in USD Zone 4 Ottawa looks like today:

I am thinking of the dye plants that lie under the snow and the colours they were just a few months ago: Clockwise from the top at noon: the colours of Michaelmas Daisy, Saskatoon Berry leaves, Coreopsis, Blue Borage, Tagetes Marigold, Purple Amaranth, Dahlia, Purple Sandcherry.

Some of the prints I made on paper in the fall are going to an international printmaking festival with venues in Stroud, Cheltenham and Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England. Here four more (two were in my last post):

Sweet Gum (liquidambar styraciflua) with Purple Sandcherry (prunus cistena). The sandcherry bush is in the photo above. This was an October 2012 print, when the Sweet Gum had turned colour from greens to redsand oranges. I could gather them from the ground after a frost. All four prints are on 140 lb Strathmore watercolour paper

Sweet Gum, Purple Sandcherry and Japanese Maple:

Sweet Gum and Japanese Maple:

Chokecherry (prunus virginiana), Sweet Gum, Japanese Maple:

About my art residency in at Arte Studio Ginestrelle in Mount Subasio, Assisi, Umbria, October 2013.

“Ginestrelle” refers to Spanish Broom that grows abundantly in Umbria, and is a traditional dye plant in many countries. It was the name that drew me to check out this particulare residency. I thought the word referred to genista tinctoria but learned that that plant is native to Northern Europe while Spanish Broom (spartium junceum) is native to west and south Europe. (It is a noxious weed in Washington State, BTW, because it agressively ousts native plants)

You can check out the residency for yourself at

Meantime, one image of Mount Subasio while I am waiting to sort the copyright permissions before posting images of Spanish Broom

Next post:

More details (I hope! ) about the print festival in Gloucestershire, England in mid March. The organisers are still finalizing their plans. I will also give a presentation at the festival symposium on eco prints, a demonstration of my processes and a Master Class. If any of my readers would like to suggest plants to try in March in the Cotswolds, I would be delighted to receive ideas.

Ta ta for now! Arrividerci!


6 thoughts on “Eco Prints To Start The Year

  1. Happy New Year in art to you! Lovely post; love the winter and late summer views and prints ; interesting about the Cotswolds and about Umbria. Will look forward to hearing more about both the printing conference and your residency; (If you go to Assisi we have extended family with a restaurant! As a newbie here as a plant printer (in WA state) I am delighted to know that the noxious weed is so plentiful and available for dyeing and printing..

    1. Thanks, Ginny!
      Indeed, one woman’s noxious weed is another woman’s lucious dye plant! Somewhere on the web there is a site that deals with how to do Good Things with Bad Plants…Tha might be a topic for a post! And send me the ref to your famiy’s restaurant in Assisi…Lord, how small and friendly the world can be sometimes! Thank you, dear Reader!


  2. Congratulations on the Residency – you have lots to share and there’s always more to learn. Maybe you should consider applying to Maiwa, here in Vancouver, to teach, at some point in the future. Rumour has it that India Flint will be coming this fall.

    Great post and pics.

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