Piney Woods Prints

Mazzaus at Local and Bespoke has gotten me interested in leaf prints.  I figured that as long as I am throwing plants in glass jars daily to sample for dye properties, I might as well try some prints on fabric too.  I didn’t expect too much from my first attempt, but I am amazed at how clear the prints are!

silk with leaf prints

Fish, ferns, grape leaves, and rust – a little memory capsule of East Texas!  It needs pine needles to be complete, though.

This is an old piece of raw silk I bought at a local antique store.  It already had a few small holes in it, so I felt free to use it for practice.  I had already done some fish prints on it, some with Speedball printer’s ink that was still good after 35 years, and some with some cheap black and bronze textile paint.

The plants I used were Southern Shield fern and Muscadine grape.  I have been busy this year and I totally missed the Mustang grape crop, so no fresh jelly this year, but I tried its leaves as well.

Following Rebecca Dean’s Burgess’s instructions from Wild Harvest Harvesting Color* I placed the plants on the fabric, folded the fabric in half, rolled it up, and gave it a few wraps with thread.   Then I put it into my jar of “iron liquor”, which is made from rusty nails covered with water and vinegar.

I was supposed to leave it for at least 2 days, but after about 6 hours I got a little nervous that the iron would damage the silk, and pulled it out.  I peeked at the edge and saw that the cloth was dry on the inside of the roll, so I threw it in a bucket of distilled water and let it sit there for 24 hours.

After all this ignoring of instructions, I was sure that if there was any leaf print at all, it would be blurry.  So I was surprised and happy to see the lovely prints that had developed!

fern print

Southern Shield fern

grape leaf print

Muscadine leaf

leaf reverse

I like the little “ghost” prints from the reverse of the leaves.

I also liked the way that the printer’s ink blotted onto the opposite side of the fabric, giving a second set of fish prints.  The textile paint didn’t do that, which is nice to know for planning future projects.

This is definitely just a practice piece, but I am so happy with the results!  I see a lot more experiments ahead!

* Sorry, I was so excited about the prints that I accidentally combined the authors and titles of the two books I have used most this summer!  That is not something Spell-check can catch for you.  Oh well, at least I learned how to do a strike-through with keyboard shortcuts, since the option seems to have left the editing toolbar.