Adventures in Eco-Dyeing

Gum Leaf Alchemy

I recently purchased Louise Upshall’s ebook, ‘Gum Leaf Alchemy – Eco Printing on Cotton’, see the above links to zoom straight over to her sites.

So much of the (easy) eucalyptus magic happens on wool and silk – two textiles rarely discovered in my local op shops… but here it is, a detailed description of how to achieve those wonderful leaf prints on cotton!

I now have a good stock of iron mordant… every bucket we own is currently being used to soak windfall leaves, I ┬áhave a burgeoning bag of preloved white cotton baby garments patiently ‘curing’ until the leaves, and my schedule, allows some dyeing adventure time.

I gave it a whirl for the first time last week on two garments, the first is a wool and cotton mix, which certainly preferred the conditions I provided and the second is 100% cotton, which alas provided very light, muddied looking prints:

With a new baby on the way, I have all the inspiration needed to continue to collect, soak, mordant, cure, bundle and boil away until all the white preloved goodies are transformed by the flora of our neighbourhood.

Louise suggests a hotter boil for clearer deeper prints, so I will crank up the element next time and really let her roll, we’ll see what the effects will be.

At the mo I’m a bit hodge podge with the details… I haven’t been noting the exact trees certain leaves have been collected from beneath… but I can see a notebook for such purpose is a good idea… my disposition to dive in and get a result – any result – as a tester in the least has prevented such methodical precision! But I now I see its worth…

More to come!



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