Friday, July 8, 2011

Lucky enough--India Flint Part 3

Fascinating demo and a detail of the finished cloth
After twenty years of experience one just automatically knows how to take full advantage of a process.  Believe me, India knows.  Hundreds of people around the globe have been lucky enough to see India in action in person. I am one of them.  Hundreds more, if not thousands have been pouring over her book Eco Colour in hopes of gaining insight into this very simple, and yet paradoxically complex method of dyeing cloth.  I'm one of those too. 

I marveled at India's folding process for this large piece of fabric to make best use of the power of the leaf and the fact that most times (except for eucalyptus) only the back side or veined side of a leaf will print.  It's not as simple as it might appear.

The demonstration was done on a piece of light golden drapery silk she bought at a thrift store up north (at least that's what stuck in my memory).   What gave me particular pleasure is that India accepted my offer to borrow a flat piece of rusted metal I brought from home to bundle the fabric around.

India's groovy addition to pants
I revel in arty clothes.  These pants
were adorned with eco printed patches,
but India had to hike up the apron
to show them off.

My first samples were bundled around twigs but were simmered with pieces that did have iron in them.  The upper left piece which is nearly cropped out of the picture was an old linen hanky with crocheted lace edging.  It was wrapped around copper and simmered in the copper only pot.  It has some bright yellow color.  

Iron bundles on the left and copper bundles on the right.  We also tried wrapping around rocks.  I had great results with one big flat rock, and a big nothing with a rounder one.  (Center top in the pic below.  Boo Hoo.)

These were my samples unwrapped on the last day.  A large sheet of paper was unrolled the length of the workshop room for us all to show off what we'd done.  On the tables we had spread out some of the samples stitched together...what can I say...I'm a very slow stitcher so didn't get much done in that department.

These were wet when photographed.  The piece on the upper left can be seen here.   The orange of course comes from eucalyptus, but I did get a very nice amber/orange color from sweet gum leaves that India calls liquid amber.  See the piece on the lower left.

Really like how this one turned out.  We have lots of sassafras on our property.  I love the many variations of leaves.  Some have two lobes, some one -- they look like a mitten, and some have none.  Got great green.  Looking forward to making more with sassafras.

Here is another example of the beauty of sweet gum leaves.  What is curious is that one lobe printed amber, and other parts picked up pink from some japanese maple leaves. 

I got a surprise on my first eucalyptus experiment.  I had expected orange but got green because I chose the other variety of leaves that had been donated to the workshop.  Turned out for the best as the green goes well with the purple prints.  Don't ask what they are because I can't be sure what I used.  (Maybe rose leaves?)

Part 4 and the final entry about the workshop with India is coming soon.


  1. thank you Pat for your very kind words...think the purple leaves were either Prunus nigra or Prunus blireiana
    and the sweet gum revels in the appellation 'Liquidambar styraciflua'....and the pants were extended with bits of pre-stitched stuff, simply because they were too short!

  2. Thanks for visiting and the clarification. I shall have to get a plant book for Illinois and start studying up on scientific names. I'm pretty hopeless at it now. Next post I'll show off some classmates' samples and hope they'll step up and identify whose is whose.


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