Printing with plants and using natural dyes can be a lengthy process
Three days is a lot of time to give up to new learning but the students for this workshop were delighted they had set aside the time.
The workshop was broken into head and hand times , this means a little of the alchemy of how and why combinations of plants and papers and fabrics work.
There is a lot of new learning – the environment we live and work in at Dalmally Railway Station is calm and tranquil . Having the calm helps set the new information , in fact it may seem more like a holiday
Our three days were broken into paper experiments on the first day and how this magical art works . Botanical knowledge and what local plants work and why . We use very little non native plants and have nurtured the growth of our dye and imprint plants here at the stations planting. Students can choose their living plant material and learn a little about the plants and the growing conditions . A great variety of papers were chosen and a limit to two mordants and three influential chemical ingredients – tannins , iron and a hint of copper.
We had a few surprises and Lobaria pulmonaria which is a large epiphytic lichen was a good test also the vibrant colours of the Aquilegia.
Now there was a surprise – we had to create lots of repeatable experiments to achieve a colour and understanding of how we got it .
We did get it too and discovered that iron needed to be the process to create the colour .
Some great colour was achieved by fairly common plants and many “weeds” which of course we love .A wonderful three days full of mystery and enlightenment and seeds of wonder sown for future imprinters who care about their environments and have a deeper understanding of the worth of our native plants . There is a lot of preparation time needed before and after such a workshop and I do work throughout the year on aspects of imprinting in shorter times so please contact me for more information if this excites your interest