Whilst working on a project in a local wood over the past year I have been totally absorbed by the overwhelming experience of natures colours. The results below are my first attempts at eco-dyeing by steaming paper and leaves.
The first steam was 75% successful the 2nd was equally so. The third was better and the fourth will be based on studying the outcomes of the first 3. Over the winter I intend to produce a chart of leaves and their colourings as a guide for next year.
Most blogs talking about the process are American or Australian and use leaves from their indigenious trees that we do not have unless found in botanical gardens. Therefore experimentation is the word at the moment using native UK trees.
|I found this very cheap steamer in the supermarket sale it has 3 tiers so will take upto 6 rolls of material|
|The steam and fumes from steaming vegetation is very heady if not toxic so is best done in a well ventilated place away from the kitchen as you cannot use the steamer for anything else anyway.|
A leaf maybe a particular colour but this does not mean this will appear after steaming. For example beech leaves can leave anything from cream through to orange, brown and or pink. The most colourful autumnal maple leaves come out consistently a smudgy black.
|Rolls of paper and leaves in their wrappings after a 1 hour steam, maturing over 4 days. You can tell the success of the batch by how much colour seeps through the wrapping|
As I started quite late in the autumnal season my window for collecting tree leaves was limited to falls which varied considerably in the outcome. Next summer I will will try fresher material. in the meantime I my try florist waste and or leafy vegetables.
|Put waste leaves back into the garden to mulch down|