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 work..it'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 well...so 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 vinegar...you 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...

1 comment:

  1. I sure do miss our joint eco-print days! My stash is completely gone and had been waiting for our now cancelled 4 Amigo get-away to make more. Hopefully soon we’ll all be able to gather safely again.