When I make things I like to use nature as much as possible, whether it is for inspiration or for it to do some of the hard work for me. I am a huge fan of individuality as well as the ability to make something truly unique. The easiest way is for me to achieve this is by manipulating textiles. After reading this blog post by not just a mummy on erosion art I was inspired to write this post.
You have the usual way of dying things using conventional dyes bought from the shops or you can use natural materials. I do a mix of both but this blog post is about the natural ways I turn your average piece of fabric into an interesting organic textile with unique patterns and textures.
This is a journey of two pieces of fabric, given to me by my would be mother in law which started two weeks ago. They start life as a piece of cotton curtain and a piece of natural muslin. The original colours were a bit too ‘standard’ for me so the first step was to change the base colour I was going to build upon.
I used a tie dying technique to bundle the fabric into a size big enough to fit in a saucepan of things found in the garden and in the kitchen.
Two onion peels, rosemary, dandelions, grass, parsley and basil were then brought to a boil in a pan of water before adding the fabric, bringing it back to the boil and for the fluid to reduce for about half an hour, it was then left in a pan outside for a week.
I don’t really like rinsing the fabric when using this technique until the very end of the process so after it is taken out of the pan the bundles were dried on the radiator for a couple of days. This rising heat leaves a nice layer of dried colour, a little like a crust, on the top of the fabric which when unwrapped enhances the pattern and texture.
Once dry I unfolded them and chose two themes for what I was going to put into them.
The first was folded up a little smaller and had all types of rusty and metal objects I could find around the garden.
The second I chose to use bark from a birch branch, by laying it on varying side I am hoping to get an interesting pattern especially as I am rather excited about how green some of the bark had become because of moss and fungi.
Once folded wrapped and tied
I place them in our water butt for a couple of days, making sure each bundle was thoroughly soaked
before leaving them to drain for another two days outside.
I chose the places for the bundles with the hope of using as many of the elements as possible. The ‘natural’ bundle placed where it could get the most sun (to aid any natural growth from the moss etc) where it could get some rain but where it wouldn’t sit in water. Again hoping the draining process will draw any patternization through the fabric.A broken wall was just the place.
The ‘industrial’ one was placed where it could get sun but due to me wanting as much erosion as possible to happen in the bundle place it where it would sit in water to stay wet all of the time, while still letting the air get to it. So in the pond it went.
They will get turned once a week for two weeks. Usually I would leave them for longer but I am planning on using the fabric for an outfit which has to be made in three weeks time.
Keep an eye out in two weeks time to see how they turned out.