Saturday, August 24, 2013

Natural Dyeing and Botanical Prints

A few weeks ago Vilte and me was visited in Amsterdam. We took a private Class with Leentje Van Hengel. Our goal was to deep our knowledge about mordants and classical natural dyes like Madder, Weld and Indigo. We learned a lot during this 3 days class.

When I came back home I started to dye samples and to practice what I have learned
but simultaneously I'm trying to combine what I learned with my work.
From the beginning I knew it could be a problem. a conflict between the two techniques.

Botanical Prints needs metals like iron or copper to be able to get bold print or images with depth but those metals will dull the bright shades of madder or other dye plants. Madder with iron will easily become brown.
On the other hand, to achieve deep red from madder for example needs mordant such as Alum and that will make many of the print plant materials such as eucalyptus or rose leaves yellow.

There must be a solution and I began a research now. So far, I had some successes but also some failures. Will see how and where it will takes me.


  1. For me all i see is succes...........great colors! You envy me dear Irit!

  2. Lovely color combination, Irit! I think you succeeded!!!

  3. Thank you. Both of these prints were indeed nice. even the first one is a little bit yellow to my taste. My goal in this post is to raise awareness of the technical conflict between these techniques. Many people are not aware of it.

  4. I have been playing in both these realms for very keen to hear your results as i am definitely loving your work

  5. I "HEAR YOU", Irit! Learning and discovering how combine techniques and processes of different natures is a "challenge". You hava an amazing knack for discovery, and a "curiosity" such as mine. Now, I suspect your DETERMINATION FACTOR will transform into something akin to my determination to get a preconceived result!!! LOL, "whoever said, LET GO?" ;)

  6. Yes Cassandra, Who was it? I do not remember :))) But it is a good advise to people like us. Sometime perfectionism is our little hell.

  7. Irit, as everyone else has said, these prints do seem "perfect". But, I understand the need for research when you are trying for certain results. It is your diligent research that gives us the hope of deep red madder and "green" even with the use of alum! Your knowledge and studies are what makes you such a great gift as a teacher. Thank you for laying the "groundwork" for achieving such beautiful colors.

  8. Just discovered your blog page Irit, I am loving experimenting, but do not have the disc to sample. Discipline of you for sampling. Nor the time, it's just a hobby, albeit a fascinating one which never thought I'd be interested in after years of rolling my eyes at my mother's natural dyeing of wool she spun. I'm glad I kept her books and samples now. Blessings