Eco printed washing on a line in the garden

Well, I was stung by the comment from a viewer of my “Forest Floor” installation that it looked like a “line of washing”. Since making silk purses out of sows' ears is a textile artist's dream, I took up the “line of washing” challenge and applied it to a stash of eight old white tee shirts, almost ready for dusters and floorcloths…

An elegant Korean pear tree in my garden, mighty stressed by the drought (note the dead grass) and going into early leaf fall, became the clothesline. BTW, the green you see amid the dead brown grass is self seeded perennial geranium which makes terrific tiny ground cover if you cut it with the mower to keep it tiny.(The water you see is a pond off the Rideau Canal beside which my garden grows)

I gathered leaves from sumac, roses, geraniums, blackeyed susans, prunus cistena, maple, dried eucalyptus and red amaranth, along with whole long stems of early Golden Rod. I placed a mix of plants inside the tee shirt, bundled it over copper pipe or itself, and steamed the bundle for two hours. Lots of yellows and yellow greens! Some more contrast was in order.

Having learned afrom Amelia Poole (see blogroll) about the magic of iron as a colour value developer i dunked the bundle in water modified with iron liquor until the yellows turned to greys or sage greens or deep lavender charcoal grey. Punky-edgey!

Here are four of the tee shirts, straight from the steamer, no rinsing, and left to dry in the hot sun before being washed in Orvus Paste and well rinsed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details of the prints:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun with repairing the holes in the tee shirts: some heavy free machine stitching to create a solid darned base in a neutral colour, then some threaddrawing in black with on top.

 

 

 

 

 

And some plants that supplied the colours:

Golden Rod

 

Golden Rod with magenta phlox a d white phlox beside one of my husband's funky RRR /Green sculptures, and hiding the tomatoes.

 

 

Black Eyed Susan with Scarlet Bee Balm and white veronicastrum (natives) and white, late-summer August phlox that came three weeks early because of the heatwave. Note the dead grass. While the flowers are very drought tolerant.

 

 

And one last lovely solidago, another drought-tolerant native

 

That's it for today, dear readers. Lots to look at but I was making up for my blog drought!

Next time, maybe more tee shirt restoration plus video from “Forest Floor”

Cheers

Wendy

 

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Art Textiles for a Wedding

Reduce, Re-use and Recycle was the wedding mantra since the Bride is a 3R Devotee…and the Bride’s Mother has a stash of vintage textiles and findings to make creative use of…

So the next RRR project after the chuppah was the headgear created for the wedding party of four ladies by Madeleine France Cormier, modiste and milliner of Chapeaux de Madeleine in Ottawa using her own millinery supplies in tandem with vintage textiles from my stash.

For the Bride, a fascinator was created from a silk cocktail hat inherited from her grandmother, and trimmed with silk veiling, feathers, antique square pearl buttons and handmade antique lace Passion Flower motifs:

A detail of the lace motif:

Another detail, showing how the veil is attached to a headband by a small lace motif and pearl button:

For the Mother of the Bride, Madeleine created a fascinator with a Steam Punk vibe: knitted copper mesh (AKA copper blocker from Lee Valley Tools in Ottawa), Victorian antique black jet beaded lace and black milliner’s mesh (horse hair) …and a sassy, feathery cockade.

Sister in Law, also into RRR, wore magenta purple suede shoes obtained from a consignment store (purple fascinator pic in next post…)

Friend of the Bride, Linsday Macdonald, made flowers for the dinner table out of old newspaper and buttons, displaying them in recycled blue Bristol glass sherry bottles along with fresh flowers in blue – hydrangeas and hyacinths (FYI: Harvey’s Bristol Cream is my most used condiment…It goes into everything from stews to soups to gravy to blueberry sauce to French toast …and naturally, the cook’s glass…it sits permanently on my kitchen counter along with a companion bottle of Marsala – same uses, less sweet)

And just a few more pics of the chuppah, culled from here and there (I have to admit I got too excited and forgot to give instructions re pics of the chuppah for my blog…)

Last entry in this post is about the Wedding Cloth made from the linen tablecloth (seen above) that covers the small table under the chuppah and holds the candles, wine and wine glasses required for the wedding ceremony. When I returned from the wedding, I eco printed the linen cloth (stained with red wine) with dried leaves left over from the chuppa eco prints, adding in some yellow wedding roses that the children had strewn beneath the canopy for the Bride and Groom. I bundled it with iron chunks, soaked it in white vinegar and steamed it for two hours. This is the first of the Wedding Art Textiles following the creation of the chuppah.

The Chuppah Tablecloth

For the colours, I used dried coreopsis, Japanese maple and cotinus from last summer, along with yellow roses from the chuppah, some old flat irons to give rusts, blacks and greys and a nice big red wine stain. The linen is damask with an ivy motif.

And a last pic of the Bride and Groom standing under the willows:

 

Next post: More fascinators, possibly more table decs and maybe more chuppah pics. And likely the start of a new series of eco prints.

Heads Up for my faithful readers: We are selling our house and therefore house hunting this summer plus I have a show in July. Blog posts will likely be not more than twice a month starting June 2012…Thank you for your interest! I am hoping to do a major update on my dye plant page, once I get my notes sorted.

 

Wendy

 

Eco prints with dried flowers

I like fresh flowers. During the winter, I saved roses and carnations from bouquets until I had enough to make a print. When the chuppah needed a break from me, I made another eco print from the dried blooms. I chose a fragment of dry, pre-mordanted (alum acetate) silk velvet, my first time printing this fabric. I soaked the cloth in water again and scattered dried red and yellow roses and dried deep pink carnations over the surface adding a wee branch of eucalyptus (it had been soaking in water) for the perfume plus a stick of liquorice ( a story for another day)

I rolled the bundle loosely and left it in a plastic bag in a sunny window for half an hour. Almost immediately the flowers began to give up their colours:

Pretty soon the outside of the bundle looked like this:

The inside of the bundle:

After only a short time, the colours had begun to mark the silk. It looked so promising.

Hmmm..should I leave the bundle to soak in the sun or should I apply steam heat as usual?

I tried the steam heat. After half an hour steaming, I saw that the rich pinks and reds and violets had begun to turn dark…I recalled that last summer, dried pink rose buds from a flower tea mix had dyed brown…better take it out of the heat. I let it dry then rinsed it: and most of the of the colour washed away, except for some dark red-pink and violet from red rose petals:

What next? A pot of five blue hyacinths getting dry, about ready to fade. Hyacinth flowers and leaves went in the wet bundle with more dried roses and carnations:

 

 

The hyacinth blues began to release right away, the greens from the leaves too, even before an hour’s steaming:

 

The back of the bundle, when opened after steaming: reds, pinks and purples from the roses, blues and turquoise from the hyacinth blooms:

 

Dried, rinsed and dried again:

 

 

Several dye authors recommend no heat at all for obtaining contact prints from fresh flowers, and instead, advise soaking, composting, pounding, pre-freezing or solar dyeing as processes for extracting eco printed colour. That advice might also work for some dried flowers used for eco prints. More What Ifs to come!

Next post: Depends…