Friday, May 24, 2013

Nature's Colors

Hi everyone!
Carol Sloan here.

I am a real nature lover.
I love to hike out in the woods, sit by a rushing river (or a quiet river), kayak, ride my bike down a country road...anything related to getting outside catches my attention.
I also have been a lifelong leaf, rock and bark collector (dead bugs and dried bones but we won't go there right now).
I have tried a few experiments with natural dyeing over the years but never had much luck until last year - when I got really serious about figuring it out.
I purchased India Flint's book, "Eco Colour", and checked out every book at the local library that I could find on the subject.
I did Google searches and read blog entry after blog entry (and there are a lot of natural dyeing blogs out there), all the while taking copious notes.
I experimented for several months, getting little to no results but I kept on trying.
After months of trying all sorts of things, I finally hit pay dirt!

I live in South Carolina (USA) and in my corner of the state, we can grow eucalyptus trees. Sometimes if it gets too cold, they will get a little burned but they usually do pretty good.
These are a few of the results that I got with dyeing silk, cotton and paper with leaves from a local tree.

This is linen fabric. I know that it is much more
difficult to get color on anything other than silk.

Finally! Spectacular color after many, many tries!
Eucalyptus on silk

Different colors from eucalyptus on silk.

Yet one more color from eucalyptus on silk. I love the small fern in the
upper right hand corner of the piece.

I didn't look at my notes but I think that this eucalyptus
has a little walnut color on it (or onion skin).
I did get some nice prints on cotton fabric as well. The leaves created beautiful colors, shapes and prints.

Black Walnut leaves left a gorgeous print on this cotton sheeting.

A variety of leaves were used on this cotton.

The next two prints are pieces of cotton fabric that were facing each other with leaves sandwiched in between them. I love the different looks that I got!

What I really loved was the color and prints that I got from leaves on watercolor & vellum bristol papers.
I gathered a ton of leaves, all kinds of varieties (both plant and tree) and spent several days experimenting with them.
I am totally in love with the results & completely in love with the imprinted memory of those glorious leaves
on the paper.
And I can't wait to do more of it this year!
I am using the papers to make beautiful books full of memories of the forests that the leaves came from.

300 pound watercolor paper
I just noticed the face in the lower left hand corner.
I am not sure what kind of glasses she has on...

300 pound watercolor paper

The prints looked a little different on the vellum bristol paper versus the watercolor paper but I like them equally.

This is a close-up of one area of the paper.
I love the bright green color!

The full page from the above close-up

The green color on the left side is from a
huge dandelion plant!
Can you believe that? 
As you can tell from the dandelion comment above, I truly picked leaves all over my yard.
I tried free fall leaves (litter from the ground), fresh leaves from the trees as well as weeds and leaves from the garden.
(Addendum - some of the tree leaves are from a local farm that my husband and I hike at).

Here is a miniature book that has the pages made from scraps of this paper.
I painted a small piece of some other paper to use for the cover.
It's just a little bigger than a quarter.
This is the kind of thing that I do when I want to do something creative but I can't figure out what, when I am trying to get out of working on a deadline project and/or there is housework to be done...

I hope that you all are finding small ways to avoid housework, I mean exercise your creativity on a daily basis.
I certainly am!



Love it Carol,been waiting for friends in Aus to send me some Eucalyptus leaves, still waiting !!! Love the book well done !!!!

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Susan Brooks said...

Beryl you can get eucalyptus leaves at your floral shop. I buy them at my local grocery store floral shop!

Anonymous said...

Awesome Carol. The itty bitty book is adorable. Your prints all turned out wonderful. The Eco Colour book has some realy great info in it and beautiful photos too. I love it.

Meg Fowler said...

Beautiful prints, Carol! I've never tried the vellum Bristol. Lovely softness on those. I told you this would become an obsession ! :-)

Natalya Aikens said...

absolutely gorgeous! this process is on my bucket list.... one day I'll get there!

Carol Sloan said...

Thank you ladies! I am completely hooked on this natural dyeing/mono-printing. With paper it is so receptive to color...I have to do something with all of it that I have printed...class time I guess!

Gloria Hansen said...

I LOVE this Carol! Wow!!!

Gloria Hansen said...

I LOVE this Carol! Wow!!!