Posts Tagged ‘paper dyeing’

Dyeing Paper with Plant Material

Posted on: July 14th, 2015 by jmbroekman 3 Comments

Nothing like long sunny summer days to inspire some brand new studio adventures.

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The latest studio adventure involves collecting all kinds of raw plant material, stuffing it into folded packets of paper, submerging it into boiling hot salt-sea-water and letting it cook for a while. The result is dyed paper, and generally, not anything that you might expect. It has all the elements of surprise of making a print, multiplied about a thousand times.

Photos above show from left to right – drying flowers to use as raw material; packets that have come out of the pot, but not yet been unwrapped; and the first unwrapping. Below from left to right are: a packet with a copper plate as part of the wrapping process (the copper definitely changes the outcome); and two views of a variety of the first batch.

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The above photos are from my first forays into this world. Below are pictures of paper drying on the line yesterday, when I couldn’t resist trying again. I made a stab at being a little more methodical this time, keeping better track of what I did. This is a good example of where art and science converge – both start with an inquiry, and are all about exploration and discovery. None-the-less, it was the artist within who won out when it came to monitoring and recording notes. One of the few things that I did note, however, is that the dying daylilies did not leave an orange or yellow residue, but rather produced a pretty deep bluish color. Go figure!

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The earth suddenly seems to have awakened from a long dark sleep now, and everywhere I look, I see bright color. You would think with all those different greens – the light yellow green of the early goldenrod, the soft grey green of the vetch weeds, and the dark shiny green of the bittersweet – that green would’ve been the predominant color on the paper. No such luck. It turns out, green is one of the hardest colors to come by. I did an entire book of herbs – rosemary, sage, lemon balm, thyme, oh, and a giant broccoli plant leaf. Not one piece of green in that book!

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