Experimenting with Eco printing

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 experimenting with Eco printing is being done with guidance from a few books and like minded groups and individuals online. These people are also eco printing, and producing and experimenting with natural dyes.

The process, while quite simple produces magical results

The target fabric, silk in this case is first mordanted in an Alum and Cream of Tartar bath. This enables the dye to penetrate and stay in 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 dowel and tied tightly with string, then put into a steamer. The bundle is steamed for up to 2 hours. I normally remove the leaves shortly thereafter.

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.

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Hi. I'm Maija.

Producer of one of a kind fabrics, I am a Visual/Textile Artist at MaiTribe Studio Gallery, in central Ontario, Canada.

My life and art have been inspired by my travels  to countries such as Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Bali and India.

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