Natural Imprints of Scotland : Eco dyeing in Scotland

Logwood aralia prints , grown and shown on Dalmally Station Platform
Logwood aralia prints , grown and shown on Dalmally Station Platform

What is eco printing?

Eco printing is the process of imprinting living material onto cloth / paper or other surfaces by the alchemy of mordants / tannins and a heating  process be that cooking or steaming. The slow method is using the earths heat over a long period of time to ‘cook’ it .

In Scotland the summer season is short and prolonged natural heat is difficult to get so I prefer to steam my imprint work.

To get the best results we need to learn about each and every plant, their growing seasons, even their uses in herbal medicine. One needs to learn the Poisonous ones, and how to avoid injury using a wearable cloth.

The botanical knowledge gained during my floristry degree has come to my aid in learning the plant families and sub species. I am constantly adding to my experience, and the more I learn the more consistent my results have become. It is chemical alchemy on a cellular level with ever changing ingredients.

Cloths or paper are usually mordanted to help the dye ‘bite’ to the fabrics. Tannins are often used to provoke chemical reactions within the plant material. Each of these factors creates yet more variation in the final fabric.

Each piece is totally unique and, as each leaf and bud has its own individuality, so also does each imprint.

I use the plants that grow in the area of the Railway station and have several dye beds with a wide range of plants. I regularly forage for ‘weeds’, some which make excellent imprinters as well as natural dye colours.

Lots of questions have been asked …a couple : –

  1. Is it light and colour fast ? – yes as much as any natural product is.
  2. Are they washable? – yes the fabrics that are imprint dyed can be gently hand washed when necessary.

Our first residential workshop will be held in May 2017 in Strontian, Ardnamurchan.

handfelted textiles inspired by nature, made in Argyll, Scotland