For the past couple of months, I have been busy experimenting with eco printing. I have also been making and using natural dyes on silk. Last February’s trip to Gujarat was the springboard for this new direction. I am keen to learn about tie & dye and natural dyeing on fabric, after having met some incredible artisans in Bhuj. While I have already been airbrushing on silk, for over a year, I use acrylic paint. Now, I would like to delve into this world of dyeing with plant material. My experiments are being done with guidance from a few books and like minded groups and individuals online, who are also eco printing, and producing/experimenting with natural dyes. The process, while quite simple produces magical results. The silk is first mordanted in a Alum & Cream of Tartar bath. This enables the dye to adhere to the fabric.To print the plant material, I first spray some vinegar mixed with water, on the fabric. Then I assemble the leaves and/or blossoms, dip them in an iron solution and place them on the silk. Afterwards, the fabric is rolled on a large dowel or a branch, tied tightly with string, then put into a steamer. The bundle is steamed for up to 2 hours. I usually remove the leaves shortly thereafter. However, the results are slightly more intense if the bundle is left intact for a day or longer. The works on this post are of two different pieces of silk, one of which is Eri silk and the other is Silk Habotai. I have used a natural dye of onion skins, prior to eco printing. The various plant materials that I have applied on the silk include: the blossoms of Cotinus and Roses, and the leaves of Maple, Dogwood, Jerusalem artichoke, Cotinus and Yarrow.While the results are on the dark side initially, with a mild soap wash and ironing, the colours are brighter and the plant patterns are more distinct. The final product has many nuances of textures and colours.
MaiTribe will be at the Springtime Shop, Best Western in Owen Sound, on March 25th