The Textile Arts Council offered a workshop on printing with leaves. I signed up immediately. I had heard from other textile artists how simple it is to print with leaves. Just roll the up with a scarf and that’s it. Well, its a bit more complicated than that. Lyra Bobo, an instructor in the Fashion Dept. at Santa Rosa Junior College was our teacher. She was a wealth of knowledge and had lots of samples. I was instructed to bring certain leaves that print the best. I hunted them up in the neighborhood and in my friend’s gardens. Eucalyptus, Smoke, Maple, Black Walnut, Grape and Hydrangea are some of the best. What fun. They were to be kept in water until use and carted up to Sebastopol, my final destination. I have done natural dyeing but this was a new experience. It was a beautiful Sonoma County Fall day. The outdoor studio was set up for us. After a info period about mordants, natural dyes and the procedure that we were going to follow, we got started. I realized that, like any art, you do not know the outcome until the “big reveal” at the end. There are so many variables such as, the time of year, type of tree or leaf, soil
Here’s how it goes: Washing of the fabric prior to dyeing is important. I use Synthrapol or Castile soap to remove any sizing. Then one must mordant the fabric in a combo or alum and iron. This will set the dyes. That means cooking it in this solution for about 45 minutes. Next you need a piece of flannel the size of your fabric, soaked in a iron solution and wrung out. This is called the blanket or carrier cloth. When that is done you, can start on the fun. First a layer of thin plastic or parchment paper the size of the scarf on the table, then the scarf, next place the leaves, vein or flower side down, spray with water, and cover with the carrier cloth. Press down gently on leaves and roll up from one end tightly and bind the scarf bundle with strips of muslin and place in a steamer for an hour. Here are a few pictures to illustrate. I didn’t get a picture of the steamer. The instructor used a commercial food steamer but one can create one at home in a big pot. This took five hours to make two scarves, one silk and the other silk/wool. counting the lecture and lunch. I am going to try it at home. If they turn out, I might even give a workshop to share the experience.
HI Quilters, I have decided to keep track of the progress with the 2021 College of Marin “Holiday” theme sampler quilt class. The blocks will be a tree block, two star blocks, crazy quilt block and Redwork embroidery.
In preparation for the class, I send the students the materials list and the list of fabric resources so that they can get fabric, a cutting mat, rotary cutter, a ruler and a few more basics before the first class. Students will choose their own fabrics.
I cut out all the blocks way ahead of class and then sew some of the block to be worked on together so students can see the block in the beginning stages. By the way, a block measures 12″ x 12″ finished. That means sewn into a quilt. Our pieces will measure 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ unfinished., allowing for 1/4″ seam allowances. The first block is the tree. I chose four different greens for the tree branches, a dotted background and a brown stripe for the trunk. I hope that when it is sewn together it will look a bit more interesting. Maybe some embroidery decorations or stars in the background. It is also possible to change some of the original fabrics and/or colors before sewing. I laid the pieces out on a board made with foam core and batting glued onto it. This serves as a good staging unit and the small pieces will stick to it and not fly off on the way to the sewing machine. I will be demonstrating the making of a double half-square triangle for this one. We will be using this technique in the future. This is an easy block to start out with. I am including a picture of the unsewn block. I will be talking about this later, in order to follow the progress of the block and quilt from beginning to end.
An early morning walk to a garden in Nantes before our trip to Brittany was lovely and pleasantly. Then we visited a chateau/castle made into a museum. This city is on the ocean and was a major port for slaves and trade in the early days(1600’s) and is now a busy city with a lot of history of kings and queens and invaders from Britain, trying to live down their past.
We jumped in the cars and headed for Le Faouët, where Michel Garcia has his workshop. Another harrowing car ride full of bumping over curbs, going the wrong way and getting lost. We made a planned stop at a restaurant that was full because of no reservations were made ahead. The next stop was Carnac, an ancient gathering of megaliths and stones. Similar to Stonehenge.
We arrived at our destination, a nice B&B in a big house. A welcome dinner and lots of congenial fun. Relieved to have reached our destination it’s so quiet here at night, you could hear a pin drop and the weather is perfect.
I spent yesterday resting after an early walk headed to the Montmartre/Sacre-Ceour, area hoping to see the sights I missed the first evening. The day turned out to be so hot that I turned back for the apartment. I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I went to Monoprix and bought yogurt and Orange juice. That was the end of that. It was so hot I had trouble sleeping.
I awakened feeling better and the cold seemed to have disappeared. The first day plan was to find my apartment, meet the group, possibly go to a Textile show and have dinner with the group. I got an early start to beat the heat, took two busses (I’m proud of myself for that) arriving at 9 am. After finding the apartment, I walked to Luxembourg Gardens, a grand garden with at least 100 statues, two monumental fountains and lots of people enjoying the park. Luxembourg Palace, at the end of the park, is the home of the French Senate. Everywhere one looks in Paris, are statues, fabulous churches, parks, not to mention the motorized scooters everywhere, even on the sidewalks. I missed the trip to the exhibition this afternoon. I’m not too disappointed as it was really hot this afternoon. Dinner was lovely with the group at the corner bistro. Tomorrow we are off to see several textile museums.