Answering a Few Questions

To answer some questions I received since the last post:

Q. Given the abundance of sweet potato vines we have, I want to try some fabric printing! Is the fabric dry or wet? When you encase the rolled fabric in plastic, what do you use? After the fabric is unrolled, do you use anything to set the print or just hear set the fabric? I’m going try it on a humid day & see what happens!

A. When I roll a log in plastic, I lay it down and place my fabric on top of it and roll as such:

Rolling On Plastic

Sometimes I roll them without plastic underneath and decide I want plastic, so I just cover the whole thing with plastic.

When I mordant my fabric, I usually do this overnight, then let it drip dry until it’s damp, when I then fold it neatly and wrap it in thick plastic sealing off the open edges by folding them in until I can get to them. Nancy Zeller at Long Ridge Farm explains it here:  If it’s already dry, I spritz it with water using a spray bottle.

When I wrap my logs, I use a commercial grade food wrap.

For silk, I wash it, then heat set it by ironing after it’s damp dry or if it dries out again I spritz it before ironing. If it’s cotton, I don’t open it until the next day, then treat it as above.

Q. I saw that you preserve leaves for long periods of time. Are you willing to share that process with me or point me in the right direction? I love this new adventure!

A. Yes, sometimes I just put them on dry; sometimes I dip or soak them awhile in water; sometimes I dip or soak them in Ferrous Sulfate, or Calcium Carbonnate or Vinegar, or Titanium Oxalate. I use a longish rectangular shape container that holds the solutions mixed with water according to the various directions for each solutions, a separate container dedicated to soaking leaves.

Dye & Print Studio 1.
These containers are on the table on the right, the two most forward with covers on them. If you look on the left shelving unit, you see the box of plastic that I use. And I thank the Goddess for that fan every day! Without it I wouldn’t be able to work out there in the summer, especially this one!  It also does a decent job of keeping the mosquitos and gnats off of me while I’m in there, although not so much at night.

I then take them and lay them out in two ways. If I’m going to be using them soon, I lay them first on old dishtowels or something to absorb excess and I position them to lay as flat as I can get them, covering that with parchment paper or anything really that will be of help in flattening them because over that I put something heavy for awhile. I do this because I had some really disappointing results when I laid them out wet, They bled too much to my liking. I also dry them for the months ahead when there are no fresh leaves available to us here in New England. I use layers of brown craft paper for this, piling one on top of the other. For these I always keep something heavy on top of the pile until I’m ready to use.

Hope I answered your questions!


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