So this is that we did on the third and final day of the course Garden Secrets, which is all about extracting colours from plants and fixing it on cloth.
We made mordants in various strengths from alum, iron and a mix of the two. We worked very precise. With drug dealer scales and mililiter injection syringes.
We made technical reference pieces with dots in every mordant which we hung in various dye pots. We had five pots on the boil. In Dutch: gele ui, duizendblad, rabarberwortel, guldenroede en blauwhout. (Yellow onion, Achillea millefolium, Rhubarb root, Solidago and Campeche)
We had prepared the dye pots earlier that day or the day before. (So that’s a skill I now also have, yay!)
Then we chose various mordants within one colour bath and painted with that. We fixated the mordant on the cloth. Then the cloth could be put into the dyebath and the dye grabbed onto the cloth but only where the mordant was. We were painting with mordants. The results are the flower paintings below.
In the afternoon I did one classic eco print (just plain old iron water, with an unknown strength, probably STRONK, and some Rhus leaves) because I want to master making clear contoured leaves in heavy iron. The Rhus coloured purple which was a surprise.
I also worked with the various strength mordants and painted them all on one piece of cloth, in narrow stripes. I chose to add colour from leaves, not from a dye bath, and arranged various leaved. The result is stripy with leave prints. Very interesting.
My course mate did the same but with broader stripes and one, big leave, again Rhus, and her print is amazing. It’s the last picture.
(We both opted to play with mordants and leaves. Other course mates chose to explore batik techniques and prevent either mordant or dye to touch the cloth. This way you can work in layers.)
We learned to extract colour from plants and we learned about mordants to fixate the colour to cloth (cotton, linen, silk) and also shift the colours with these mordants.
on Day 1 we did Ecoprinting and Hapazone. Ecoprinting takes colours from leaves and puts them on premordanted cloth. Hapazone is hammering colour from flowers directly onto cloth or paper. This is without mordant and the colours are fleeting.
on Day 2 we made dye or paint from plant materials. Chop them up, soak them overnight, boil them, extract the colour and put it into little viles. Thicken them, add mordant to them. Can be kept for a long time. We painted with them on cloth and paper and we thickened them to use them for stamps.
In the afternoon we learned to shift the colours with iron and lemon. I’m looking forward to making my own paints and using them for water colour/ aquarel.
on Day 3 we prepared sophisticated mordants. They are used first and then colour is applied (either by dye bath or leaf printing). This way the colour can be determined far more precisely.
In the afternoon batik pastas were taught (but not the wax ones! Clay or flour batik paste instead, the African batiks). I opted for exploring sophisticated mordants with leaf printing instead.
All in all it was a very good course. Anja Schrik from Viltwerkplaats Odijk knows her stuff. She’s also a good course instructor who keeps impeccable timing so no one stands around being bored but also no one misses out on information just because they had to take a little rest. Also: the course doesn’t run late. That’s quite unique, isn’t it.
And it’s filled to the brim with information! Just like I hoped when I visited the studio for the presentation of the book and saw the sophisticated mordants for the first time being done.
It’s also all in the book, Eco Verven (39 euros). Which is being translated in German at the moment.
I’m very glad to have the book. I’m looking forward to work with my new knowledge. I bought some cochinelle because the colours that can be obtained from that are marvelous! They would be such a nice complementary parter to the indigo dyed linen I have at the sewing machine at the moment.
Lastly: the location of the course. A studio near three houses surrounded with one great garden filled with trees and green houses and crops and fruit and chickens and cats 🙂
The kitten is called Sjakie and the adult cat is Obelix 🙂
Obelix was adopted from the shelter and handed over in a bundle of towels because it was supposed to be “such an aggressive, hostile cat. Best to be kept outdoors. Pray you never have to take him to the vet because he will fight you nail and tooth.”
He’s the sweetest thing you ever saw! Basking in the sunlit garden, comes trotting when called because he LOVES the cuddles. Interested in what you’re doing. Turns out some cats just can’t stand the shelter. They want peace and freedom and then they their love for humans flourishes.