Entries in printing (20)


bored bear

I had a bored Koda Bear on the mountain.  

I had a bored bear because the tractor broke and things were needing to be done to fix it.  The boyos were flattening the spot I would ilke my studio to be because the goal is to flatten the mountain.  Just ask any male who runs any type of flattening equipment on the mountain!  The tractor suddenly stopped.  Bob came up (who has over sixty years of experience with heavy equipment) and could not figure out the problem.  It could be the starter.  Well, it was actually a $20 spring that is going to end up in about a $1000 of maintenance.  Because the tractor has not been serviced in three years.  But while this was all going on, Koda Bear was bored.

He was trying to build things with no materials and no tools.  He wanted to build an ecoprinter.  I am really not sure what his imagination meant by that but I do know there was frustration because it was not working.  I finally stepped in, took of the silk and cotton slip I was wearing (protein fibers print/dye easier), and had him smash plants into it.

If he had been an adult, he probably would have ended up with the flowers and leaves mashed into the slip so it was an actual print.  But he is seven.  I have the most interesting splotches of color on that slip now.  With holes where the hammer broke through the cloth while he was mashing plants.  The rock did not cause holes as such.  

I will mend my slip and have a tatter slip with colors of plants.  Yes, I like white but he had a really good time.  It is starting the process of learning how to print.  It is all the same process truly.  Something to print, color added some how, pressure added. 

He had fun.  I laughed.  It was a good time.  And the tractor will get fixed.


letterpress work

The last two days I have been printing.  Printing on paper.  I have been printing business cards for the boyos and cards for the ribbons I sell in my Etsy shop for me.  I actually need to print business cards for myself as well but I could not find my plate.  I have been thinking I need to change it but I have not taken that action.  This may be a sign.

I had a friend say that it appeared that I really enjoyed the ecoprinting.  Bottom line, I enjoy printing as long as I am not in an office all day.  When I used to work in an office, coming home to print just was a lot.  I have spent sixteen hours in the last two days printing and it is just work.  Making the plates, making the designs is very creative but the process is very repetitive.  I can be stressful and hard when your body and head are not in the game.

Since I have not been in office, the printing is much easier.  The standing has not been!  Part of that is my foot.  Part of that is injuring my hip on top of the arthritis in that same hip.  Also, I need to look into a larger paper cutter. 

Making bundles does speak to me.  It is the printing with plants and on fabric.  I know I can do the same thing with paper but fabric is what speaks to me.  It is a happy place.  I never know what I will get where the creativity with letterpress is more of that I can make the same thing over and over.  

I might go collect some plants tonight.  Take evening walk.  The wise thing is to take a bath after two days standing and then go to bed early.  

I just want an ice cream cone.  If not that, a hamburger.  Obviously, I am a little tired.  I can always do more tomorrow.  I know with the life I live, enjoy, love, nothing happens fast and there is always something to do.  Tomorrow will probably be about cooking beans, coaching, maybe a bundle or two, and working on sweaters.  I may get a chance to work on some Christmas presents but probably not.


going down the rabbit hole

I am feeling very creative but only in one direction currently.  Which does make it very interesting for anyone reading a blog!  I still eat very well, bread is being baked, mending is being done (which I will take some pictures of soon), sewing is being done, my shop is being stocked over at Etsy, but I just want to work with plants!  I laugh at myself.  When I realized how easy it is to wrap plants in fabric with a little bit of moisture and see what happens, that is all of what I wish to do!  But it is pretty boring to anyone else unless you are interested in it as well.

There will be more around here then most people will want.

But I said I would write down the process so here it is.

The first thing you need to do is go collect plants.  Any plants.  Fall leaves give very nice prints.  I read where flowers do not print as well as you might expect.  Give it a try.

Lay those plants on top of a piece of fabric that has been dampened with mordant.  In this case, I used a 50% solution of white vinegar (50 percent vinegar, 50 percent water) in a spray bottle.  The flatter the plants are, the better they will print.  

I do not use cling wrap underneath the silk.  Using cling wrap limits how far the colors bleed through the layers.  It becomes more modern art doing it this way.  However, I have prints of leaves and acorns with out the cling wrap that are very clear.  In my class, many people used the cling wrap and there were a lot of leaves.  The little red maple leaves are especially clear.

If you wish to, you can add another layer.  I make big bundles.  This is a cotton sheet that has been ripped into lengths.  It was put into an iron solution where 1/2 teaspoon of iron sulfate was dissolved in 1 liter of water.  Again, this is a mordant.  The goal is to pull the color from the plants into the plant fiber.  On a protein fiber, a  mordant can make a color more vibrant or deeper.

I make sure every layer is damp, whether it is vinegar, tea, iron, whey, or soy milk.  Something.  Even plain water will act as a mordant because tap water has other chemicals and minerals in it.  You can even add some dye to your mordants to see what happens.

When your blundle is as big as you want it, tie it all up.  It needs to be rolled tight so if you think you will not roll it tight enough without help, roll it around a stick.  You can also put a weight on the end of the fabric so you have some resistance to pull against when you are rolling.

One of the tricks I learned at my class, was using a turkey roaster for steam.  My parents had one they did not use so I brought it home.  Put water in it, bring up to a boil, place your bundles in it and leave for 90 minutes.  If you do not wish the water to color the bundles in any way, left out of the water.  You can add dye to that water and over dye them as you are printing.

After 90 minutes, you can turn off the turkey roaster and wait for them to cool so you do not burn yourself.  That is my suggestion.  But if you cannot wait, you can open them right away to see what you will get.

Usually the unexpected.

I have been doing some reading and you can print by just making bundles.  Dampen the cloth or plants, or both.  Lay the bundle out the same and roll it up.  Just let it sit for awhile.  Open it like a surprise!  

I wish to play more with this technique.  The skirt I made recently, that I adore, I look at it and think, "I can mend it this way, print it that way, and dye like that" when it eventually starts to show wear.  Making witchy clothes.

I just do not feel like I have enough time to be creative!

Oh well.  More walks.  More plants.  More bundles.  I can just be told I am going a bit crazy.


autumn quilt

Since I made the Christmas Tree quilt and the Sew Scary quilt, I have talked about and pondered making an autumn quilt for my wall.  More of a tapestry.  But everything I make to hang on the wall I make to see have the possiblity of a quilt.  Though the Christmas Tree quilt still has its lights pinned to it.

Two of my favorite shops for buying cottons for quilts are in Washington.  I stopped in Quilting Mayhem and picked up many fabrics for Christmas presents.  But I also picked up fabrics to make an autumn quilt tapestry.  Then I took the ecoprinting class.  

I combined the fabrics I had purchased with the prints I made to make this quilt top.  It is difficult to get a good picture of it because it is very similar tones.  But that was always the idea of an autumn quilt.  I am very excited about this but I will probably not have much time to work on it until Sunday.

Saturday, I am teaching a friend how to ecoprint.  I do not know how long that is going to take so I may or may not get to this space on Saturday.  I hope to take pictures this time!  I also need to go foraging for some of the greens I want.  And cut out pattern pieces.  I am going to print fabrics for clothing gifts.  Or maybe just some dresses for me. 

India Flint prints her aprons.  I love white aprons but you can always see stain unless all you do is work with flour.  I am thinking about printing my white aprons as well.  I may become a walking plant print!  I feel like I am having too much fun to focus.  It just makes me smile.



This has been an interesting week since I have been home.  The weather has floored me.  We did not get as much rain as expected but the pressure front moved through in such a way that I was in a lot of pain.  My main reaction was exhaustion.  I spoke to someone else with arthritis and she said she had had the same reaction.  Doing basics was about where I was going with everything. 

We may have a cold front at the end of the week.  I am hoping I do no have the same reaction.  I am truly looking forward to some cooler weather.  It is one of the hard bits of being back.  I am ready for cool.

While I was in Washington state, I took an ecoprinting class at Ragfinery.  I was very excited about it.  I follow India Flint on Instagram (@prophet_of_bloom) and just have fallen in love with what she does.  I did not realize was the one who pioneered this technique.  I had watched what she had done enough to get an idea of maybe how to do it but Ragfinery was offering a class during a time I would be there.

While I was working with the scythe and chain saw, I was also collecting plants for using in dyeing.  Both for the ecoprinting and to come back and dye ribbons.  I have so much fun work to do that I feel a bit pulled in many directions.

I came out of the class with a knowledge of how to do ecoprinting.  I also came out of the class with two silk scarves, multiple strips of cotton, and a silk dress printed with plants.

Opening the bundles are like opening Christmas packages.  This is the back of the dress I printed.  I do not like the front as well but I can reprint it.  Which I may do Saturday.  I have a friend who is an art teacher who wants to learn how so I am going to teacher her.  It will also let me get pictures of the process.  I got no pictures of the process while I was in class.  It was too much fun!  I think that is the best compliment you can give a class.  Too much fun for pictures!

I want to go foraging!  Plants for prints!  I am actually planning some Christmas presents using these techniques.  I will see how it all turns out.