Thursday, 27 March 2014

Eco-Dyeing and me.

Last Summer I discovered the joy of Eco-Dyeing.

I'm not really sure how it all began, one day I was dyeing with tea bags and the next Eco-dyeing. I started to make friends on facebook with lovely kind people who have become great friends, always so willing to offer support and advice.

I bought India Flint's book 

Then I started to experiment, at first I had no success but this only made me keener to achieve a print. There was a lot to learn about mordants, the word mordant means to bite. I learnt this was important.......I read and read as much as I could and everyday practiced, this was not difficult as Eco-dyeing is such a joy the excitement and anticipation of untying  a bundle has to be experienced.

I started off like this

I soaked overnight in an old aluminium saucepan some cotton fabric......this was an old sheet cut up, the solution was white vinegar and water.
At this time I did not know printing on silk and wool gives better results :-)

Then I gathered together some small twigs

and leaves from the garden.

Then I started to roll out

Then secured with first I did not know that the better and tighter you secure your bundle the better contact to print.

Then I placed in my aluminum saucepan of onion skin dye, my wrapped bundles and boiled for 1 hour. I left to cool until the next day.

Here is a selection of prints from last summers experiments

Leaves on silk

On cotton

On Cotton

These prints on cotton were boiled in an aluminum saucepan with a Rhubarb mordant

These are a selection of prints that I stitched into, I made 4 separate collages with them.

 These are prints on card

I printed on gift tags

I used my prints on Rice paper to make a cover for a book

 Water colour paper print with stitch and pressed flowers

Thanks for reading my blog post and give Eco-Dyeing a go it will bring such joy to your creative life.

Love Marilyn xx


  1. Absolutely wonderful Marilyn - what amazing results...can't wait to begin Eco-dyeing...but first the darned essays which appear to be taking over my life...thank goodness for FB for a laugh and a chat with likeminded people....think I'll buy India's your samples...xx

  2. Oh yes, what a joy it is!
    Lovely post, Marilyn ... very fun to see your process and I've a feeling your tenacity for the medium shall carry you far & wide ;>]]

  3. gorgeous! I recently purchases India Flint's book on eco dying and can't wait to dive in

  4. AS always, your teacher gifting rises up! What a great job of step by step for us to see the process. Im obviously going to get baptized into eco dyeing this I feel better prepared! Thanks Marilyn! Laura

    1. Oh! Laura you will love it. Thank you for your loving support xxxx

  5. Marilyn what fantastic results. I love the tags. Thanks for showing us in such depth.
    Lynn xx

  6. beautiful results. and love what you've created with the beautiful cloth.

  7. This is exciting!! Beautiful results!! Lesley

  8. i love love love your "gather" art!

  9. What a lovely blog post Marilyn! Your early experiments forging ahead were marvelous and the way you document it all here is a joy to read.. especially like your embroidered collages; I have been playing with the eco-dye and eco-print for a couple of years but am a stitcher wanna-be..and just starting out so appreciate seeing the ways people add stitching to their pieces..or add their pieces to the stitching!

    1. Oh! Ginny, thank you :-) stitching is my thing
      But I have to say Eco-Dyeing is a close second.......if I lived in a warmer climate I would do so much more. Our weather can be very debilitating when you in poor health .......but hey .....summer is on it's way and we do have spectacular autumn leaves. Xxxx

  10. Amazing . I love this . How beautiful xxxx

  11. This is wonderful Marilyn, thank you so much for sharing it. I've been wondering how to do Eco-printing. I'm off up to the Scottish Borders on Monday to spend the day with Eve Studd learning about natural dyes.

  12. This looks amazing!
    I am inspired! X

  13. What a wonderful post Marilyn so beautifully explained and easy to follow. I love the print onto cotton, the colour is so deep. I can't wait to share eco-dyeing with you. The collages you made with your experiments are amazing and even better in real life!!! You are a very talented lady and have a gift for teaching/helping others to blossom. Jaynex

  14. Hey marilyn,
    can you please help me. I am doing a final project in eco-dyeing and I couldnt find good information about it, in India's book did it say where did it start o how people start using it? thank you so much i loved your little eco dyeing fabrics and tags. xox

  15. Marilyn.
    Thank you for such clear and inspiring ideas. I have been in the kitchen all evening with steamer and flowers! My prints are not quite as clear as your but I am having another go today.
    Did you allow the vinegar to dry on the paper prior to laying the flowers onto it?
    Many thanks, Leah