Friday, October 23, 2020

Eco Printing 2 - The Results

So I started with a leaf, watercolor paper - around 140 lb. and applied heat, water and pressure....
and boiled the "leaf sandwich" for an hour....Now for the fun part... to open up the packages and see the results. You literally DO NOT know what's inside...sometimes good and sometimes not. So far in my journey with this technique there are no probably the most unpredictable printing technique I do.
Above, top left to right, Oak Leaf Hydrangea, Rose leaf, Maple, bottom L to R -  Smoke plant, Red Bud and Rose leaf.  I think most were pretty good but the rose leaf remains my favorite.
Above are some examples of printing with a piece of colored tissue paper on top of the leaf. The color leaves the paper easily and transfer to the watercolor paper. In the top row, the middle is a light orange tissue and right is blue tissue. I love the effect and so easy to do.
Blue tissue covering the Red Bud leaf and on right is the Smoke plant.
It's interesting to note that when you layer the leaves and paper, the leaf will touch paper on top and bottom. Sometimes it will print through on the other side (the one not intended for that leaf) You can see this in the lower left print with the Maple and a Maple from the next layer has printed through. You can see the back side faintly underneath the main Maple...makes for some fun results.
The 2 lower right prints above were printed on top of "already printed but not real successful prints" to experiment.
Above is the Smoke leaf plant with blue tissue dye color on top and on right are 2 Maple leaves printed on top of an already printed paper with a Red Bud leaf underneath...interesting.
A Red Bud with a jagged edge and tissue over the top during printing.
I was pleased with this group of prints and think I'm wrapping it up for the season....I have quite a lot to work with....Til next time when I'll share some small projects I made with these prints.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Eco Printing 1

As fall approaches and the knowledge of our trees losing leaves... I thought - I haven't done any Eco printing this season and time is running out. It's a bit of a set-up as I do it on the back deck, have to lay plastic down, set up big tables, get the big pot, clamps and shingles out and ready and FIND leaves. Well  the leaves are the easy part, my yard is full of them. But not all will impart color so I've made a list over the years what will work...also friends that have a particular leaf in their yard will give me some.
You must also decide on what surface you want to print...I've done both paper and fabric with paper yielding better results. I use a 90 - 140 lb. watercolor paper but many others will's fun to experiment. I would say the heavier the better and generally speaking, that may be true, but I've had some successes with thinner papers as you will see. Above is a 140 lb. paper that's been cut/ripped using a Deckled edge ruler along the edge. It's very easy to do if you mark your cutting lines with a pencil (from a bigger sheet) and lightly spray with water along the lines. This softens the marked lines and makes it very easy to rip.
 Here are some of the leaves in my yard that yield great results - above the Red Bud. I like to choose leaves with some "raggedy" edges for a little more interest in the print. The Oak Leaf Hydrangea - below left is being printed on top of a recycled not so good print...we'll see what happens. Below right, I covered the leaves with yellow tissue paper which will impart the color yellow on the areas around the leaves.

Above left, the Maple leaf which works great is being printed on top of another not so successful print just to see how it works. On the right, another Maple is being laid on top of a thinner paper with text on it...I've worked with this paper before and had good results.
Some ferns above...sometimes work, sometimes not. They are covered with blue tissue which leaves a beautiful color on the surrounding paper.
One of my favorite leaves to print, besides being such an interesting shape, the print beautifully. These are the leaves from a Knock Out Rose bush.
Two more on just 140 lb. water color paper, already cut to size to make into cards or small pieces of art.

This is a newly discovered leaf to print....When I took a printing workshop a while back, we had a list of possible plants and this was not on it...but I loved the lacy edge and thought I would try it...the Heucera
And the fern is on top of a page from an old booklet I donated to the cause....This page is around the same weight as a page from a novel or text book and it works you can scour the second hand shops for old books to use in printing and it's also a good way to recycle.
My friend Mary has done some amazing prints on wool felt using this method so I thought I would give it a try but I didn't have good luck with it. I used an old wool blanket which I suspect was not 100% wool. A note on the leaves, for best results, lay the leaves with the spine (or back) side down against the paper...It seems like it should be the opposite, but not so, the back prints better than the front.
The idea behind this technique is to layer leaves and paper until you have a stack of around 10 sets...It's the filling for a leaf sandwich. Then you place these layers in between 2 flat pieces of tile or shingles and clamp them as tight as you can. I invested in 2 8" tiles to give them a try. They are a little heavy but work very well...I used large binder clips to hold them tight.

You can also use cement board which worked great but will have to be cut into smaller pieces with a certain kind of blade. My husband is a woodworker and said he would get the blade and do this for me (what a sweetie!). I like cement board as it doesn't fall apart or impart any color. So far, it is my favorite "board" to use. Above are 2 pieces of Poplar which I've used before and will fall apart eventually but they are good for a while. Once your sandwiches are ready to go, fill a big pot with water - around 3/4 water and 1/4 white can eye-ball this. Bring to boil and then add leaf sandwiches; boil for around 1 hour, Carefully remove from pot and let cool...remove clamps and see your beautiful results...which I'll show real soon...

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


I've been wanting to create a wall piece using fall foliage for my space at Woolworth Art Gallery in downtown Asheville. Years ago, I developed a technique using image transfer paper and beautiful fall leaves. Long story short, I finally realized if you could transfer a flat photo using this paper, why not the vibrant fall (and flat) leaves. I was off and running and have done many fun things with this technique.

I put as many leaves as I can on a sheet of paper, photocopy them so I have a permanent file of and also make a copy of the leaves onto the transfer paper. The transfer paper with leaves is then ironed onto fabric and can not tell the difference between the real leaf and the fabric. 

For this piece, I decided to use the leaf as fabric and cut out the same very simple shape (you will see it below).
I wanted an interesting background so I used artist's canvas (7oz. single weave) which is a little bit heavier than muslin and did a quick (4 mins) microwave dye with a very diluted dye solution. The fabric is scrunched up so it gets very mottled. Some mx dyes will split as this one did giving a beige and greenish color.
It needed something else so I cut out fern shapes, lay them on top of the fabric and sprayed with a diluted bleach solution. I have since created these fern shapes in plastic so they don't fall apart when wet.
Here is the finished piece for the background...I'm now ready to play with leaves....which reminds me of a wonderful memory of jumping in piles of leaves. I come from the north and always had glorious autumns and lots of falling leaves.
This is the second background piece all ready to go.
And here is the finished piece.....appropriately named Branches....already brought to Woolworth and already sold within a week...Now I'm back to a blank spot on the wall again....not complaining...just got to get busy again.
 Hope you're enjoying this glorious time of year...

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Little Switzerland

Last week....just to get out at this beautiful time of year, we decided to go for a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's 15 mins from our house and we have found this national treasure a constant source for inspiration ...both for our art and our soul. My husband has done many paintings of scenes from the parkway and I've done many wall pieces.
We decided to go to Little Switzerland which is around 90 mins away...We drive up the highway route and driving home take the Blue Ridge which is more leisurely, slow and much prettier.
They have outdoor eating which was our first time eating out since February so we were very excited. It's amazing how we take so many little things for granted.
This was our view from where we were sitting....

We had our masks on before and after and everyone seemed happy to comply....I can't say I like making masks but it does give me a chance to be a little creative. My husbands is patriotic and mine is from fabric I marbled.
They do have large awnings to protect from the sun.
We always take a walk afterwards down a country road nearby. There is so much to see when looking down,
lots of inspiration for art.
And our drive home along the parkway which is always breathtaking no matter what season.

I loved these craggy trees and wish I could have gotten closer...could have done a lot with these.
I love the layering with the mountains and think using an organza could create this effect in fabric.
And the Asheville Water the tree in the upper right...It was a lovely day and nice to be out and about...we so needed that. Hope your day is a good one.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Recycling - Shimmering Forest

I made this piece a few years back with my Fiber Junkies group. We were experimenting with the layering of very thin paper, stencils and paint. It was lots of fun...not a technique I would repeat but still fun to learn something new.
I thought of selling it at a reduced price at one of the local shows I was involved in but it didn't catch anyone's I thought....why not cut it up - GULP.....and make it into cards. It's probably not as lucrative but at least I'm recycling which is always a good thing.
I think I was able to get 6 cards out of this piece. 
I put a fusible web on the underneath side of the fabric, pinked the edges with pinking shears 
and ironed them to card blanks. I also stitched around the edge of the fabric with a decorative thread for added stability.
They turned out pretty nice and I'm so pleased I was able to find another use for them. They are in my gallery space at the historic Woolworth building on Haywood Street in Asheville, NC. If you're ever in the area, do stop in; there's so much to see and if you venture downstairs to the lower level, head on over to # 235 (left aisle)...Hope to see you there.