Eco printed socks: Sweat as mordant?

One pair of Husband's 100% wool cross-country ski socks, forty years olds…yes, forty. (I am not the only one with a Stash…)

One day in the winter with only left-over dried eucalyptus to print with:

Wool socks bundled over debarked wood and simmered in left-over dye bath (dried coreopsis, tagetes and euc leaves) for a couple of hours:

The results with Eucalyptus globulus: One side of the bundle:

Other side:

Note the heel area and the colour obtained there:

Red on the upper sock where it came in contact with the heel in the rolled bundle:



So now, will Husband wear these? The answer is YES, he will. They look like the skin of some exotic animal!

But will I let him? If NO, only because I have other ideas than feet-covers for the fate these lovelies


Late Winter Fungi Foraging

What are these, dear readers? They have been growing on a distressed young Red Maple (Acer rubrum) around the corner from my house and I collected some yesterday with the intention of trying them as dyes.

They are in the company of some pretty lichens, as you see. I have been collecting similar “tree ears” from fallen or felled logs – I have even bought big ones from a funky florist shop – but these are the first I have taken from a (barely) living tree. They are quite small. I was wondering if these fungi grew only on trees that were weak and dying or dead? Am I disturbing a delicate balance by collecting them? From the decay grows the next generation of many plants but in a natural evnironment. A “forest floor” is unlikely to develop on a city street.

A recent snow storm was too much for the maple. It was planted a few years ago in a dry, dry summer and several of its newly planted companions succombed within months. This one braved on. So sorry to see it break – by the time I return from the UK it will have been removed, most likely


The funghi grows all over the tree bark, all the way up.

What are the names of the lichens? I have so far stayed away from collecting them so have not yet studied them carefully. It is on my list , though, and I do have Karen Diadick Casselman's book on lichens (see my reference page)

Last pic: Maybe this is the last snow slide this winter? It's in my front yard and my grandson could not resist, of course:


O To Be Eco Printing In England!

Above: Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac), quintessential plant of the Canadian landscape, sometimes known as “the Railway Plant” because is grows so freely along rail road embankments from coast to coast. Its red candles were used by Native Peoples of Canada to make a lemony tasting drink. The whole plant gives yellow or yellow-green dyes. I use the fresh green leaves for tannins in the mordanting of cellulose fibres, as well as for contact printing on paper (above) and textiles. The red berries or “candles” (dried or fresh) print a beautiful range of reds and pinks on paper and silk.

I am off to Britain, my native land, next week. I will be an exhibitor, presenter and workshop instructor at a festival and symposium organized by the The Gloucestershire Printmakiing Cooperative. I'll be taking a little of Canada back with me in my prints and Artist Books – both native plants and green immigrants.

IMPRESS International Printmaking Festival.

The festival takes place in the Cotswolds at various locations in and around Stroud, Cheltenham and Cirencester. Britain, China, Cuba, Peru and Canada among others will be represented. I am looking forward to meeting the plants I know well in Canada but in their native or adopted territory! Almost all the plants I have used for my prints so far can and do also grow in England. (See my reference pages for more info about plants to use) It will be an adventure to see how some of those same plants print in an English spring instead of an Ottawa summer and fall!

The Ottawa Gatineau Printmakers Connective (OGPC) is sending work by seven members who have been invited to explore the themes of “the land” and “native”. The title of the Canadian exhibit is“Landmarks”. Some OGPC members will also have work in the “Red Ink” exhibit. It will be very exciting to share with printmakers from so many different cultural traditions.

I'll be in the “alternative” printmaking stream of the festival.

1. Presentation and Demonstration

Saturday March 16 at 11:30 at the Art College of Stroud.

2. Master Class in Eco Printing

Monday March 18, 2013 from 9:30 – 4:00 at Griffin Mill studio of the Gloucestershire Printmakers Co op in Stroud.

3. Meet The Artists “Landmarks”

(Wendy Feldberg and Mary Baranowski Lowden)

Wednesday March 20, Corinium Museum, Cirencester (Sched TBD)

4. Printing and Design Workshop based on “Landmarks

Dry point, roller and sponge effects, monoprint with printing press

Tuesday March 26, 2-4:30, Corinium Museum, Cirencester

For the IMPRESS festival details: (“IMPRESS” tab)

For info about the symposium, classes and workshops:

Ottawa Gatineau Printmakers’ Connective exhibits etc. at IMPRESS

– “Landmarks” at the Corinium Museum, Cirencester

– “Red Ink” at the Gloucester Cathedral Cloisters

Ottawa Gatineau Printmakers Connective artists at the IMPRESS festival:

Leigh Archibald

Wendy Feldberg

Diedre Hierlihy

Mary Baranowski Lowden

Rosemarijn Oudejans

Debra Percival

Lynda Turner

My work at the festival:

Next posts:

Updates to previous posts and to my plant page, plus a new page about copyright!