Eco printing using flowers

Having been on a day’s workshop at Hawkwood College with Babs Behan, on which we used flowers from the garden to print a silk scarf and being pleased withe results, I got rather carried away back home.  I mordanted silk with alum, cotton and linen with aluminium acetate which gives much better results on plant fibres.  Here are just a few of my results.  I sprayed everything with vinegar before rolling up and  all bundles were steamed.

I also printed some papers for my project on Nature Journaling with Roxanne Evans Stout. The first three are paper – mulberry paper, Japanese rice paper and Nepalese mixed fibres.

I used dahlia and rose petals, hollyhocks, mallow, anthemis tinctoria, calendula,  French marigolds, some elderberries still on the stalks, which I crushed, elderberry and rose leaves a, purple sage,  purple carrot, thinly sliced,hibiscus and ordinary teabags, plus a small quantity of iron filings.

Japanese silk  which has a flower motive integrated into the cloth.

Cotton sheeting

Another piece of Japanese silk.  The circular blue marks are from the purple carrot, a spectacular result.

Linen.  Here the leaf marks are quite noticeable.


Gelli plate mono prints using plant material

Having purchased a commercial gel plate some time ago and not really used it much, I decided to do some printing with plant material.  I made the following little book.  The cover uses a collagraph print around the spine and I mounted the trimmed prints on khadi paper.

Spirits of the Garden

I  then made myself a slightly larger plate, using gelatine and glycerine – the latter ingredient being important as it stops mould developing and stops the gelatine turning to liquid, which is what happened the first time I made one using only gelatine.

The prints are a combination of the first print with the ghost print added over it to get the details of the plants.  On the second ivy print, I used the paint left on the leaves to press onto the negative shapes.





New scroll book

I have been invited by the Embroiders’ Guild to submit a piece of work for their exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Show, entitled Page 17, using a book as inspiration.  I chose ‘The Crane Wife’ by Patrick Ness, which takes a Japanese folk tale in which a couple assist an injured crane who then returns in human form to weave beautiful fabric, plucking feathers from her breast, which they can then sell.  Ness transports this tale into present day London.

I have titled it “With the arrow removed from her wing, the crane calls at the moon”  Size: 58 cms by 23.5.



My inspiration was the boro style of stitching, patching old fabrics.  I used vintage Japanese fabrics, indigo dyed fabrics, printing, bleach discharge, painted bondaweb, feathers, sequins and mother of pearl buttons.





Four seasons part 2

I finally completed the three remaining large compositions for my four seasons project. They are all 41 x 31 cms – the size of the khadi paper I used as the base layer.  Once finished, they were mounted on white card.




I loved this project.  Even though I did it in one fell swoop, rather than during the relevant season, I had lots of bits collected over the year squirelled away and it was great to find a use for them.  As I am always in the garden it was easy to find the seasonal connection.

A little book for trees

I made this book by printing and stencilling colour and shapes, mainly circles and diamonds  with some freehand monoprinting, on to an A 1 sheet of paper, then tearing the sheet into pages which I then bound into the book.  Laura Kemshall did a video on this some weeks ago and it certainly gives an interesting canvas to work on.  I spent a while wondering how to take it further, then decided to explore the shape of trees and leaves.  I used collage, more printing, drawing, real leaves and also cut away some of the original shapes to reveal the underlying page. Here are a few of the pages.

Itis still a work in progress.


Sketchbook workshop

More than a year ago I did a workshop with Cas Holmes at West Dean, on using sketchbooks as a starting point for further work.  I was not well at the time and felt I hadn’t produced anything worthwhile, but when I came to look at the work again, I felt there was a lot more there that could inspire me further. Here are just a few of the pages.

We started by just adding marks and colour to pages:

then did some drawing: this was looking through a window in the Great Hall:

Outside in the gardens:

Then made collages from a variety of bits and pieces we had either brought with us or found lying around the studio (other students’ cast-offs).  We also took photographsand then played around with the images, enlarging, tearing them into strips, etc.


I revisited the lattice work on the windows:

The following page uses an small isolated section from a drawing to be reproduced with fabric and stitch.

We were also given a challenge to make something using chance criteria – mine was a postcard using a colour I don’t normally work with: red.  Luckily I had a few bits with me and I was given some red crepe paper by another student.


A second tote bag


I love the first bag I made and decided to make one as a birthday present for a friend.  The indigo patches are from fabrics that had been dyed either by her or by me, so it felt appropriate to use them for this.

Inside I have used a piece of ice dyed fabric:

I’m glad to say she was very pleased with it!

Four seasons book

I have just been doing an online course called Pathways and Wanderings with mixed media artist Roxanne Evans Stout which I found full of inspiration.  I produced this book on the Four Seasons.  First I used a combination of watercolour paper and Khadi paper for the pages and to give more substance to the Khadi paper I brushed on a layer of gesso.  Then I collaged all the different items until I was happy with each page.

The cover:

Winter pages:

Spring pages:

Summer pages:

Autumn pages:

The final spread, as I had 2 blank pages left:

I attached a little tag for each season with writing about that season on the back.  It hangs down on to the appropriate page.

Winter, when the earth sleeps and life slows down, longing for Spring.  Snowdrops throw their light across the dark soil.

Spring light returns and myriad shades of green push through the soil.  Yellow flowers are everywhere and the birds sing all day.

Summer long days of summer warmth and bright light.  Lazy days to enjoy. Profusion of colours, flowers, insects, birds.

Autumn mists and mellow fruitfulness, the birds help themselves. Colours changing from green to reds and golds, then browns as the land gradually returns to sleep.

The four seasons in the garden, always changing, always something new.

The back cover:

The good thing about this project was that I used only things that were in my studio – I plundered my stashes of fabrics and papers (most of these previously dyed or coloured by myself), paper napkins, plant material, feathers, photographs, collected sea glass, beads, some in polymer clay that I had made, including the plaque on the cover and a lots of bits from previous projects.

I also resolved to make a larger composition for each season, with Winter so far the only one completed.

My home in winter:




Indigo tote bag

Whilst in Bangkok last December I saw some beautiful info tote bags for sale – quite expensive, so thought I would make my own.  I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, using fabrics I bought in Japan and an Indian fabric as the lining.  I zigzag stitched the outer fabrics onto a piece of heavy calico to give extra strength and used  pieces of denim fabric for the top and bottom and handle pieces.


"Exploration of textiles and mixed media is a huge adventure"