Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Eco Printing with Fiber Junkies

To continue our wonderful day with Fiber Junkies....as if printing and silk screening weren't enough, our gracious hostess Val set up the workings for eco printing. ...a technique she learned in a workshop in Vermont. 
I've seen many ways to do eco printing, but basically you are using plants and other organic materials and transferring them to cloth and paper. In this case, just water and white vinegar were used. You can see some of Vals beautiful pieces above...mostly Eucalyptus leaves on Khadi paper.
Val's husband Skip set this up for us - a turkey fryer with a steam basket insert (to the left) and a propane gas tank for heating up the water solution. The pot is filled (almost to the top) with water and "enough" vinegar added at the start. I estimated the "enough" to be around1 - 1 to 1 1/2 cups. It's not an exact measurement.You are providing an acidic environment for the transfer to work. Keep the lid on and bring to a rapid boil.
The packs will be placed in this steam basket which in turn will be set down inside of the pot.
In the meantime, cut or rip your paper (can be any color) into the size of the wood blocks they'll be layered between...The papers here are @ 5" x 7". You can use larger papers that fold in half ...better for holding the leaves inside.
Val also had an Indigo pot for us to dip papers in...
Thin pieces of wood  (Cedar Shake shingles) were used to make a paper sandwich. The wood is placed on top and bottom of paper pack. Layer as follows;...wood, paper, leaves, paper, leaves...etc. The top is covered with wood and the bundle is held tightly together with clamps
as you see here. Val had Eucalyptus leaves for us...as they work very well. I brought some Maple leaves which also seemed to work. Val also used some rusted gears (first picture) which are so interesting. Whatever you use should be flat and thin.
After the bundles are secured, place them in the steamer. About half to 3/4 of the way up, slip long screws through the holes...I couldn't imagine why, but it's to keep the bundle from drifting to the top...what a clever idea. The mixture is boiled for @ 1 hour and then removed - CAREFULLY...
Kate taking a quick break here....time to "smell the roses"...or in this case, the Eucalyptus.
And the unveiling...after a short cooling down period...This is exciting.
The colored papers came out beautiful...
and the white papers took on some of the yellow paper's color.
The transfers were beautiful...this is Vals. She used a bigger sheet of paper and folded it in half trapping the leaves inside and creating a mirror image.
In any case, the papers will pick up the images from the organic matter on both sides; if the paper is a hand made paper - usually thicker, you'll get wonderful imagery on back and front.
This was my first attempt and I'm quite pleased...I have to work a little more on imagery placement but all in all, I'm happy with the results and want to try more.
In this one, you can see the vague outline of a Maple leaf (right) so I'm happy to have other leaf options...
This was the most fun day...we all went home happy campers with more treasures to add to our stash.


  1. Thank you for sharing, really interesting!

  2. Wonderful transfers, did you try it on fabric?

    1. Hi Linda.......the paper in this case worked great but have tried other methods of eco printing on fabric with mixed results...I'm wanting to try this method with fabric next month at Fiber Junkies..