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Autumn Leaves

The leaves are starting to look very autumnal these last few weeks, and I am concerned that Storm Babet may strip the trees of their leaves over the next 48 hours! I have been collecting leaves to experiment with - drawn by the colours and the shapes. Although Acers are not native Arran plants, they grow exceedingly well. I have several in my garden and have harvested some of their leaves along with gathering some of the sycamore leaves that are falling in abundance at present!

I am really just experimenting with the process of eco printing at this stage and there were several questions raised by my previous attempts that I wanted to try to address.

My first question was about laying the leaves out and whether a better print was sourced from a leaf placed acing up or down on the base. I laid my leaves out with some upwards and some down facing on this experiment:

My second question was about ways that I could avoid the stiped effect that my first experiments had produced. After some research and advice from other experienced eco printers I ascertained that I this was caused by the pattern of the binding when the rolls were wrapped. Before I had bound them tightly but there were spaces between the tape. This time (and I hope you can see the difference) I have bound the tape so that it completely covers the roll with no spaces in between. I've been told that a layer of cotton or some baking paper would provide similar protection from the stripes - but this seems the easiest solution given that I have to bind the package tightly anyway.

You may see from the picture of my layout that the base is a grey colour: this is another experiment that I wanted to try as it is not a piece of felt that I have handmade myself but a piece of felt cut from a garment that was a woolen cardigan that a friend had felted by accident. In the name of sustainability I wanted to find out how successful eco printing would be on a recycled felt base.

So what happened?!

So generally I got better definition of the leaf veins where the leaves were placed face down on the base - but it gives more of a resist effect to the print. These leaves did not leach much colour onto the base, and I think using a grey base has not helped the clarity of the prints. But interestingly, the back of the fabric picked up some much clearer prints from the two larger leaves laying face down and picked up some colour too:

I carried out a few individual prints as experiments too. I wont bore you with all of them but some gave a reasonable print:

So at present I am still learning about which plants do and don't print and learning so much about the process. Don't underestimate the excitement of opening each bundle after boiling it to discover what is inside!! It is quite addictive!

Now time to await Storm Babet and hope some leaves deep in the Glenashdale forest escape the winds!!

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