Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dyeing Paper

It's that time of year again.
I can step outside, pluck a few leaves, pull up a couple of weeds and grab that bag of frozen onion skins that I have been saving, and invade the kitchen to do some natural dyeing.

This year, I decided to try a few new (to me) and different leaves/weeds/items in the dye pot.
I have fresh eucalyptus leaves from my own backyard, avocado skins from previous meals, not to mention a few vegetable leaves I thought I'd throw in the mix.

Keep in mind that even if I can't obtain any color form the items that I use, they usually act as a resist to other colors coming through the paper.

I'm going to use watercolor paper (three different types and weights) as well as a few pieces of drawing paper (Strathmore 80 lb from a spiral-bound pad).

I have a thin box full of various weights & brands of watercolor paper that I have either bought or been gifted. I have no idea about the brands (unless it is printed on the paper) and usually guess on the weight but it's all good.
This type of activity is all about experimenting - and I love to experiment!

Last night I gathered up a bunch of paper- 90 lb up to 140 lb. I folded a couple of pieces in an accordion manner and just folded the remaining in half so I can stitch it into book form later.

I stuffed it full of a variety of greenery - mostly fresh but some of it came from my file of pressed items that I have collected along the way.
An example of what went into the pot - red tip, eucalyptus (leaves and bark), broccoli, tomato, nandina, sumac, hosta, peace lily, muscadine (leaves and vine), apple, avocado skin, onion (yellow & red skin), oak, maple, dandelion, fern and several unidentified weeds (maybe a few other things...).
Whew...once I start gathering things, it's like a madness takes over and I have to grab a handful of everything in sight.
In my own defense, you just never can tell when a plant will surprise you with an awesome display of color or turn out to be the best resist you have ever seen...
so, try it all, I say.

Here are some of the initial results from last night's pot.

Some of the best color from very unlikely places-
a weed vine with stickers on it.

One of the accordion fold books that I will be making.

The upper right hand image is from a
pecan stem that I had pressed from last year.

I love the layers  of color!

See the emerald green color?
I think that came from one of the sumac leaves.

This is a young shoot from our black walnut tree.

Even the cardboard that I use as the "cover" gets a
great dye job!
I have more on the drying table to show as well as two pots full of more paper and a little fabric.


Penny said...

Do you put the paper in the pot too or put the heated plants onto the paper? I am not very sure how you do it all.

Joanne Huffman said...

I am so entranced by the vibrant colors; my leaf dyes are always muted. I, too, would like to know more about your techniques with paper.

Bren Thebeau said...

what an array of colour and textural elements, just amazing the results you got

cindyolson said...

I am also interested in what you put in the pot to get it to transfer to the paper. Beautiful outcome!