Please enable javascript, or click here to visit my ecommerce web site powered by Shopify. Cobbled Together by Brenna: 2011 -->


Sunday, 4 September 2011

Eco Dyeing Normandy

On a recent trip to Normandy we did a little natural dyeing, Eco-Colour style with locally sourced fabric, water, rust and plant matter. Not having yet got my hands on India Flint's beautiful book, we just experimented with the little knowledge I have picked up from the very inspiring and rapidly growing fan base of this wonderful and exhilarating method.

Being in quite idyllic surroundings in a sleepy village surrounded by flax fields called Malleville-les-Grés in Normandy, we couldn't help but photograph our experiments. Here's the (little) method in our madness...

 A trip to the local beach to collect the sea water for mordanting the fabric...

Then a walk to our local brocante to find linen and silk for dyeing...

Very pleased with our linen haul and we even found a silk scarf, most pieces only one or two euros! We also found some beautiful rusted objects that would have been wonderful for making rust prints. We got a couple of pieces of iron to add to the dye pot.

Soaking the fabric in the sea water... 

We left these soaking overnight. We didn't have enough time to dry them before wrapping the bundles so I'm not sure how effective the sea water mordanting would have been.

The next day we collected our plant matter. 

One bundle included this old rusty chain and padlock and a few Hydrangea leaves and a bunch of Rumex tops...

With little helpers we laid out hydrangea flowers on the silk scarf. 

It might have been setting oneself up for disappointment to make this look so pretty at this stage!

Wrapping the bundles in the rain. 

...all tied up

A large bolster cushion cover made from fine linen was opened out and this became a bit of a test piece where we laid out various wind fall including cherry leaves, some kind of spurge, beech, rose, rumex, a fern etc

The silk bundle and the linen test bundle were boiled in the filtered sea water in an aluminium pot...

A beautiful copper tinderbox...

The rust bundles of linen and leaves were boiled in filtered sea water in an aluminium pot separately. That lovely copper kettle was too nice to use but it made a nice prop! 

After two hours on the stove they then went outside like this to rest overnight. The water in the pot with only plant matter turned a deep red and the iron pot went a murky black.

The next day...

I wish I kept this red dyebath. I wonder which leaves mostly contributed to make this colour?

Opening the test piece. Not many of our chosen leaves did much here or were perhaps given enough time to do much anyway. 

But the fern made a vibrant green print... but sadly that soon after faded away. 

An embroidered linen cloth that was bundled with a small rusty chain and some hydrangea leaves

This was another embroidered linen cloth that had a few sprigs of the rumex in as well as a very rusty iron chain, rings and padlock. It revealed some lovely colours and patterns...

Lastly the silk scarf and the pretty hydrangeas....

Suprisingly the hydrangea all left their mark in quite a lovely blue. The orange flowers (not sure what these are called) left a very vibrant yellow print. 

The red/orange was from the dyebath and you can see the resist of the rope ties. 

We left them drying in the apple orchard... 

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Just catching up on some of my favourite artist's blogs (Sophie Munns & Kathryn Clark)  and was really taken with the beautiful painterly quality of these two works that were brought to my attention.

white rag quilt by Barbara Wisnoski

This beautiful pieced quilt by Barbara Wisnoski is made up of hundreds of tiny fragments sewn together in a method she describes as "Happily freed from precision, this is cutting and sewing as mantra, as pure, riotous activity." This idea is incredibly comforting, to be freed from precision, from the fear that everything must be precise to be of value, to put aside doubt and just be present in the doing. Barbara's work has also really validated my inability to throw away even the tiniest piece of fabric.
07-D122 by Chun Kwang Young
The other artist I came across was a Korean artist Chun Kwang Young who wraps tiny blocks of foam in mulberry paper and creates these incredibly intricate works that resemble by their micro geometry a kind of 3D matrix over a landscape. I find a lot of similarity in their works and their methodology. I love the way they have built up of layers in an informal grid to create such a beautifully ornate yet, from a distance, visually simple aerial landscape.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Eco-printing linen with copper coins

I tried my hand at a bit of dyeing/eco-printing inspired by India Flint's bundle technique where you tightly wrap found plant matter or objects in fabric and soak/heat to transfer the colour on to the fabric (a slightly simplistic description I'm afraid!) My first attempt was using a jar of copper coins that I had to hand in an attempt to create a more regular design on some pieces of an old linen sheet that I had left over from another project. Here are the results which I pieced together to make into a top to wear because I was quite in love with the fabric.

From everything I've heard, I think I must get Second Skin.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Ye Olde Haberdashery circa 1805

We came across a wonderful museum to the old village store in Mid Wales recently, called The Thomas Shop which was restored as closely as possible to resemble the ambience and proper convenience that a village store in the early 19th century would have provided the local community. I especially loved the haberdashery "department" which occupied half of the shop with its wonderful collection of antique lace, velvets and woven Welsh blankets as well as all the beautiful old sewing notions. It was a real treasure trove, well worth a visit if you're travelling through Wales. And to top it all off there is a Wool Emporium upstairs and wonderful tea and cakes by the river. It was just heaven, a real lucky find. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...