Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In The Studio: Eco Bundles

           This week's studio update can be considered the Holiday edition- because I am still on vacation but find it difficult to sit still! This week I tried my hand at something I have wanted to do for a very long time- Eco-bundling- essentially using plant materials on hand and wrapping them up to leave out in the garden to do their business. Possibly the most passive way to dye textiles I have ever come across!

        Lets start at the beginning shall we? Last week I took a length of lovely organic gauzy cotton and gathered handfuls of plant material from my parent's garden- calendula, marigolds, lavender, hollyhocks, Japanese Maple leaves, mulberry leaves- I even threw in some lavender and dill for flair as I was fairy certain it wouldn't dye but would smell good. I also had a handful of Logwood chips that I wanted to experiment with so I threw those in as well. I cut my fabric and folded it accordion style- laying it flat I started to add in the plant material and rolled the whole thing around a stick tightly- tightly trussing the bundles up with butcher's twine at the end. Once fully wrapped I left my bundles at the end of the garden in a spot I knew would get both water and extreme heat- effectively steaming the bundle for the course of the week.

           It was with great difficulty that I left my bundles at the end of the garden and walked away- I am the sort of artist who likes to poke and pride and hurry things along- this however is one of those beautiful things that can't and won't be rushed- possible life lesson here. I did flip my bundles daily- my Mum taking over that job when we journeyed up to Vernon- but essentially there was nothing I could do but wait and observe with fascination the changing colours on the outside of the bundles- I was dying (haha) to know what was happening on the inside!

       Needless to say it was with glee that I retrieved my eco bundles from the bottom of the garden yesterday and snipped the butchers twine binding- carefully unrolling these lovely gems of fabric I was beyond excited to see what changes had taken pace over the course of the last week.

         Once all the plant material was washed out I rinsed the fabric until the water ran clear- what was left behind was a lovely sunset of all natural tie dye. I have two large 36" x 36" scarves and one smaller one- it's going to be hard to part with these beauties but keep your eyes peeled for them to go up in the shop next week!

         This was so satisfying and to be sure something I will do again- I only wish I had brought more fabric this time around! There is really just a quality so ephemeral to these scarves that is difficult to catch onto- definitely the pictures do not do them justice! The beauty of such a slow process- is obvious- something lacking in much of today's busy world. Slow fashion on my summer holiday- yeah that fits just right!

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