A friend and I are putting together a small show for our local Surface Design Association group.
Our show concept is that we will augment each other’s work, she uses my dyed fabrics and I use her eco print fabrics. She makes beautiful eco print pieces. So I decided that I would make leaf prints that would echo hers. However, I don’t want to get involved with steaming and mordants, etc. so I remembered a sun dye, SolarFast made by the Jacquard Company, that I played with years ago. Even though I bought it 2 or 3 years ago. it still worked and we were in the only really warm and sunny part of our year, so I experimented. I live on the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest where our summers are cool and damp.
This first effort was on a 70 degree day with bright sun, the leaves were laid on a gray hand dyed cotton that had been painted with yellow and red dyes, covered with plexiglas and put into the sun for an hour or two.
This turned out pretty well, so I tried it again on a hot day, 85 degrees, with blue dye on white cotton. My thought was that I would over dye it later, turning the white parts into color
The leaves became so hot under the plexiglass and the sun that they cooked and released those lovely brown colors. That was a surprise. The begonia leaf on the left burned in parts, so the colors are mottled. The grass leaves on top were thick enough not to burn.
Then I decided to try using brightly dyed cotton for the background.
This is a piece of cotton dyed with procion dyes using the bucket method. I painted on black dye, placed the leaves, plexiglas, put it in the sun, forgot about it and remembered three hours later.
This was the result.
I’m including this leaf to show the detail possible with this dyeing method. That thin white line on the brown canna leaf is a piece of thread from the cotton trapped, unintentionally, between the plexiglas and the leaf.
This is definitely worth exploring.