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Being On The Lookout For The Presence Of Wonder - Discovering The Process Of Eco-printing

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder” e.b.white

I have always loved this quote. It reminds me to stay curious – that is my secret to joyful creativity. Since I have been a little girl, I have never lost my sense of wonder and looking for new adventure. All children have this curiousity and excitement over the smallest of happenings. If you doubt me, watch a small child and see how long before they pick something up and squeal with delight! As adults we must remember that! I never stop asking questions. I never stop wanting to see what is behind the next corner, behind the next door. I always want to be surprised. Curiosity is one of my most cherished gifts and I try to nurture it every day.

How It All Began....

Eco-printing represents what I mean by curiosity. About a year ago, I saw a photo when I was browsing through Pinterest – it was a beautiful journal

with leaves printed on the pages – and I became curious. The post had the tag “eco-printing” on it - and I became even more curious. This began a quest to find out more about this intriguing process - a new process of transferring leaves onto paper and fabric. I then started an Eco-Printing folder on my own Pinterest account thus began my journey.

As most of you already know, I am in love with nature – trees and leaves in particular. In the same way we visit museums and art galleries to experience the essence of an artist, I feel walking through nature I experience the Gallery of The Master Artist-Creator.

Maybe that is why Nature’s Palette continues to evolve for me. Eco-printing represents an evolution in this series of nature inspired paintings. It is a shift in my thinking and a sweet surprise.

What Is Eco-printing?

Eco-printing is a natural printing process using leaves, flowers, and a variety of natural elements to produce a contact print. This print is created through a process of using a mordant which reacts with tannins in the plants resulting in a contact print that has a lovely variety of results!

Through my research I discovered India Flint was one of the people who created this method. I purchased her book, Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles and became even more inspired and intrigued.

The blog, Threadborne, also helped with much of my research. Her blog had some of the best information out there on the internet.

What keeps me coming back is the never-ending surprise of eco-printing! No matter how many times I use the same leaves and same circumstances I am continually surprised by different results!

All of the eco-printed pages are amazing and nothing is wasted. The end results mirror what happens in nature by the Master Creator.

For no 2 leaves are exactly alike, so no 2 eco-printed pages are exactly alike!

Eco-printing has taken me down a new little path of discovery and I am enjoying the results. My Nature’s Palette series is evolving and morphing. I feel a change on the horizon. For now, I am enjoying the printing process and for sure I am going to have to share this with my students in a workshop - I’m getting so many requests. Look for a post on my FaceBook page on future workshop – probably in September.

Eco-printed Message Journals....

After I had created all of these delicious eco-printed papers,

(I had a large and ever-growing pile of papers in my studio!) I was presented with the reality of what to do with them. It forced me to think outside of the box and come up with a way to utilize them so I began to discover some new techniques. Because I hang out with some pretty amazing artists, some of which are book-makers - I thought why not create a journal with messages of blessings? So I began to create "message journals".

Eco-printing On Fabric....

Then I began to think about the possibility of putting this process on fabric. So I began printing on scarves. And then I thought about how to get bright colors on scarves and combined some of the parts with eco-printing - which utilizes natural dyes - with a process I discovered called "medium print" - which utilizes acid-dyes. These were the results....

Eco-printing on Nature's Palette.... ​

I also have been experimenting with how to morph and implement this process into my Nature's Palette collection of paintings. Right now I am collaging some of the pages into my canvases and I am in the beginning stages of re-inventing and re-imagining this process.

So for now, I hope I have inspired you to be on the lookout for the presence of wonder! I challenge you to pick something up on your walk today and then smile with delight remembering the wonder of the child that still lives within us all!




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