Originally uploaded by MadeleineS.
In among the pressures of work and family and personal health I have been finding time for a couple of things. The Mathematician's Shirts project has a deadline of early November so it's the major draw on my creative energy - see it's own blog for updates on progress. However I did make some work for Felt United - the International Day of Felt - which will be posted later and I've gotten interested in "slow textiles".
A few months ago I discovered the work of India Flint and have been inspired to try some of her techniques myself. The process that intrigues me the most is the "ecoprint" - which uses the whole leaf for dyeing and leaves an imprint of it's shape and texture. Being Australian her work involves a lot of eucalyptus which gives great results. I've done some successful sample pieces with that and with red onion skins. So it's time to do more experiments.
In Edinburgh we are blessed with lots of native and exotic trees in public parks and private gardens. I've been collecting windfall leaves now that it 's autumn and most of them are now in these bundles:
- eucalyptus leaves from a garden tree that overhangs the street near our house
- Japanese acer from Princes Street Gardens
- red oak from the site of the 18th Century Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (a more recently planted tree though)
- common oak from the grounds of Craiglockhart Church where the Edinburgh Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers meet.
The dry leaves were soaked in hot water overnight. I dampened white silk scarves in the soaking water, then laid out the leaves on top and rolled up the bundles. The soaking water was put in an aluminium pan (my grandmother's jam pan) with some lemon juice and salt and a few onion skins for an autumnal background colour. The bundles were boiled up in there for about an hour and left to cool in the liquor. They're now in plastic bags in they airing cupboard where they'll stay for at least a week for the colour to mature.
Watch this space for the great unbundling!