Last Friday I took a one-day eco-printing seminar at White Iris Arts in Beavercreek, Ohio. Trish McKinney, the instructor, taught us about Eco Printing which uses natural plant materials to print color and texture onto paper and fabric. The process, popularized by Australian dyer India Flint, uses natural plants, a mordant (helps to fix color), and an acid such as vinegar. I had collected a sampling of plants, flowers, and even berries from my yard; other guaranteed good transfer plants such as eucalyptus, sumac bush buds, and marigolds were provided to ensure we had a great experience.
I found it interesting to see the plants I used and the prints they made (see the photo below on the left). I made a point to photograph all of my big pieces as I was making them (note that I added some thin metal before i completed the piece below, which was printed on Strathmore’s Aquarius II). I’m always interested in paper and the Sappi Laser Printing paper provided made interesting results (see the middle photo below). My favorite pieces used simple manilla tag cards. Because the smaller pieces were printed using a clamp method (the larger pieces were rolled around a dowel and tied with string), the prints were stronger, more detailed as you can see in the photo on the right below.
Not all of my prints were amazing. I took one of the longer prints, tore it in half and created an Encaustic Monotype with it. I loved working on the paper (Strathmore’s heavy-weight printing paper) because it had texture and some details which I felt translated well when printed with encaustic. The work, seen above, is “Into the Mist,” 14″h x 10″w.