Monday, April 15, 2013

Dyeing to Print I: Hapa Zome

I've been experimenting with dyeing (not dying) from natural materials lately. I'm inspired by the work of the goddess of Eco Printing, India Flint. The easiest and by far the quickest results are by using Hapa Zome, or as it's otherwise known, beating the c**p out of leaves. The technique is fairly simple although it does take a bit of practice and the results are variable.

Collect some leaves, preferably freshly fallen onto the ground so you are not damaging trees. In theory, you don't even need to leave your garden (assuming you don't live in a tenement block). I found quite quickly which leaves work and which don't. Flowers and seed pods also give interesting results. Lay down a piece of thickish cardboard onto a firm surface. Lay your fabric on top. Use only natural fabrics e.g. cotton, calico, mull, silk. You should use  mordant to assist the natural dyes to 'bind' to the fabric. I use alum 10% spray, it's easy to buy at the hardware (hydrangea food). Preferably you will have soaked your fabric with the mordant first, then dry it before trying Hapa Zome technique. I soaked mine after, and found the dyes to fade quite a lot.

On top of your fabric, lay your leaf flat, then place on top a piece of paper. Get a hammer. You can use a mallet, which I would have done except ours (whose name is Sandra for some odd reason) has gone walkabout. Beat the paper on top of the leaf, not too much or the leaf will mush up and soak into the fabric or worse still, the fabric will wear a hole. By the way, if the neighbours have been pissing you off lately, this is good way to get revenge. Otherwise you might want to warn them because I tell you, this is addictive. You could be noisy ALL day.

Peel off paper and leaf. Wait for the dye to dry, then steam iron. These are some of the results I got the first time.



Morning Glory


And my personal favourite, Harakeke pods.
These suckers have a lot of natural dye.


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