Tag Archives: color

The seeds sprout and the sun rises

Planting seeds… Every Spring as Nature awakens and comes back to life, seedlings are planted and seeds are sowed. Cause that’s how it goes. Cause that’s the way it is – standstill taking over the movement, and solution and breakthrough coming forward after the deadlock…

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Since we settled at #szaryganek a few years ago, I started another dyer’s garden right away. I planted several varieties of smoke bush, couple of catalpas, tamarisk, liquid amber, and two types of sumac in addition to what was already growing there. (Some of the new plants were presented by a friend visiting at that time. Evgenia, remember?) I also arranged madder root corner in the rear end of the garden. Needless to say, rubia tinctoria is a very important dye plant, although a young plant is not so good for dye extraction, you’ve got to wait 3 years until you harvest the first batch. This Spring I have been able to draw out a few root shoots to expand my madder plantation.

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Madder is one of the oldest dyestuffs. According to J.N. Liles, it extends back at least to 2000 b.c. In his book The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing, 1990, you can find at least 10 recipes with madder root for color red. Wow, I’ve been always fascinated with madder dyeing potential, and also with its medicinal properties. At the same time, have to admit that traditional dyeing with madder has never become my thing. Maybe I am not ambitious enough…

However, enhancing the effects from leaf printing in contact dyeing with madder extract, on the contrary, has been serving me at its best from the very start. Back in those days, when an absolute newbie in botanical printing struggling to get leaf prints of decent visibility on fabric or paper, at the same time craving for eucalyptus foliage to appropriate for my studio experiments, (and eucalyptus itself had been a complete alien at the local florists) half in despair, I resolved to giving a break to squishing out wishful color from the foliage that had already proven void, and to taking an opposite approach of saturating a weak leaf with stronger potion.

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The thing is that in days of the past newborn babies were traditionally bathed in herba bidentis extract bath-water in view of its antibacterial etc. properties, clothes were also treated with the extract. I did bathe my child that way too. The extract should’ve been cooked every time fresh through a time consuming process, and no steps to be skipped whatsoever. And the results were magical… So, in my studio I gave the old method a go and treated those weak leaves to the dye stuff extract. And, yes, the leaves impregnated with stronger dye print immediately even before the heat is applied. This is a pic back from that time:

What a relief it was after so many failures! And throughout the years of my exploring botanical dyeing this method never stopped surprising.

But it’s Spring time, remember? Conditioning the stage for madder root expansion in the garden was not a big deal, in fact. However, my recent urge for setting a vegetable garden (the lockdown sequela) required way more engineering intense arrangements. First came five plastic boxes for vegetable beds – yes, yes, I know, plastic… But, hey, sometimes you just have to to make do with what you got. I didn’t like the idea of poking holes in the bottoms, I wanted to keep the boxes intact. So, I thought I would make a raised mesh bottom supported with fixed wire. Water is supposed to go underneath, and I added a tube for ventilation and also for watering:

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Next, I spreaded agrotextile to separate soil from the plastic walls, added some potting grit and soil.

It took me several hours to finish the construction stage. Planting and sowing took the next couple of days. However, after a period of nice weather we got the temperature dropping from +26C to +8C. Which now makes me really wonder if my efforts prove fruitful.

 

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P.S. Oh, did I mention that seeds were germinated in a plastic bottle? It is a very effective and low maintenance sprouting method. XOXO

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Color Matters/ Цвет главное

Color is an important element in both art and life. Did you know that people make a subconscious judgement about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that their assessment is based almost on color alone. Color is a powerfully expressive tool. Each color has its own vibration, similar to how each sound has its own wavelength. An artwork will create a very different energy depending on what color it contains. And then the type of energy the colors emit will depend on what exactly those colors are. Tone is another important factor when considering color. It is how light or how dark the color is. In painting, when mixing colors, deep rich colors should be used in small amounts, added slowly until you get the color you need. Too much too fast will get you mud. The idea is to work your way through the muddy colors, using them as underpainting, until you lay on fresher, cleaner colors on the top layers. And if you are still mixing dull, mud colors, you can still go and buy a bunch of premixed subtle colors and only mix them with other similar valued colors…

In natural dyeing, getting brilliant colors on dyed textiles is a bit harder. The general causes of dull colors, and it is very roughly, can be these: using the wrong dye source, the wrong fiber, the wrong temperature, inadequate time, so on. With contact extraction/dyeing, or eco printing, at first you are pretty happy of getting just about any trace of plant on your fabric. And you get carried away with the process. While color-wise all you are getting is fifty shades of dirt… As far as my preferences, vibrations of muddy colors do not inspire me whatsoever, regardless of how environmentally sustainable the process is.

So, having figured out the correct technology for my contact dyeing process, I started studying conditions which help avoid muddy and dirty shades. My latest findings about clearer natural printing will be shared in my next workshops.

In the meantime, I am still quite often asked about some basic stages of the process, such as storing plant material, using leaves for printing, how long leaves’ shelf life is, etc.  So, here it goes. The longest I kept some leaves is over two years now, and still, I am able to get the same excellent reults with them. My leaves are being dried either in bulk on a sheet on the floor, or in vegetable dehydrator. elenaulyanova_ecoprint04In my studio, where I have enough floor space, I keep some leaves on the floor, this way I have an easy access to what I need more often. elenaulyanova_ecoprint01 elenaulyanova_ecoprint02However, direct sunlight on the leaves should be avoided, otherwise desintegration of material occurs. elenaulyanova_ecoprint03When I start working on an item, I prefer to calculate the amount of leaves I will need and avoid preparing unecessary amounts of leaves. elenaulyanova_ecoprint16I presoak leaves in boiling hot tap water for just about few minutes. Any excess of presoaked leaves be better thrown away, at least do not keep them longer than a day before use. However, some leaves can still print in a week or two, but the colors will be far not that clear, and some leaves can just ruin your fabric design. I prefer not to take chances here. And this is the reason I try to count leaves beforehand. elenaulyanova_ecoprint17For this dyeing session, I used both leaves I had stored past Fall, as well as some leaves that I have been keeping much longer. elenaulyanova_ecoprint06All leaves, old and new, yield dyes equally well. You should pay attention to a few things when placing leaves. First of all, sharp stalk ends can cut holes in lighter fabrics. Also, leaf anatomy determines how extractives spread from the leaf during dyeing process. The cells of a leaf are sandwiched in between two layers of epidermal cells, which provide the leaf with a waxy cuticle that protects against water loss. Leaves take in carbon dioxide from the air for photosynthesis and release oxygen, which is done though small openings on the underside of the leaf. So, some leaves on some fabrics print differently placed on fabric upperside or underside. Sometimes this is the reason why a halo is formed around the leave print. Also, very often the stalk tip bleeds and forms a halo on that side too. elenaulyanova_ecoprint07Sometimes overlapping leaves can improve both the design and the color formation.

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I open fabrics after dyeing immediately as they cool down after the process. Color formation takes place in the air and keeps going for a few more days even when the fabric is dry. elenaulyanova_ecoprint010 elenaulyanova_ecoprint11

My goal is to eliminate muddy and dirty colors and get the whole thing nicely colored.

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Straight from the dyeing pot. When fabric is wet colors look usually brighter, especially on cotton jersey.
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About my workshop schedule. Not long ago, I had to reconsider my working plan, so my initial plans for coming Summer are cancelled. Among others, I will not be able to provide scheduled individual classes at my home studio. I will let know of a new working plan and workshop schedule shortly.

I have been working on a new season selection of pretty things for my Etsy shoppe 😉 Hope to come up with nice and clear colors and right compositions in design. Although, nature is cruel)) This is the song  I am listening to while writing this post – it is here: enjoy

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Цвет важен как в искусстве, так и в жизни. Знаете ли вы, что восприятие человеком предмета происходит за первые 90 секунд и определяется восприятием цвета? Цвет является мощным выразительным средством. Каждый цвет обладает собственной вибрацией, подобной длине волны звука. Энергетика живописного произведения непосредственно зависит от его цветовой палитры. Оттенок цвета, то есть насколько светлый или темный цвет, – является важным фактором. В живописи при смешении цветов насыщенные цвета добавляются в небольших количествах, покуда получается нужный цвет. Слишком много насыщенных светов – и получится грязь. Необходимо работать от более тусклых цветов, постепенно накладывая более светлые и чистые оттенки поверх подмалевка. Если все же не удается уйти от грязного цвета, смешивая цвета, вы всегда можете приобрести готовые краски нужных чистых оттенков и работать ими.    

В натуральном крашении тканей получить чистый цвет несколько сложнее. Обычно причинами появления грязных цветов при этом могут быть, скажем, неправильный выбор красильного сырья, неправильный подбор типа волокна, неправильный температурный режим, неправильное время, и т.д. В случае контактного крашения, эко принта, поначалу вы радуетесь любому следу, оставленному растительным материалом после экстракции. Затем вы увлекаетесь процессом. Хотя, с точки зрения цвета, вы чаще получаете 50 оттенков грязного… Что касается моих предпочтений, то вибрации грязных цветов меня особо не привлекают, каким бы “экологичным” не считался бы процесс их получения.

Таким образом, когда я четко определила оптимальные условия для своего метода контактной экстракции, я самым внимательным образом стала изучать условия, которые могут исключить появления грязных оттенков. Своими практическими приемами получения более чистых результатов контактной экстракции я поделюсь на предстоящих мастер классах.

А покуда, остановлюсь на вопросах общего порядка, которые все еще часто мне приходится слышать: как сохранять листья, как долго сухие листья могут храниться, как подготавливать листья для экстракции. Итак, храниться сухие листья могут достаточно долго, у меня есть рабочие листья, которые хранятся на сегодняшний более двух лет. Листья я сушу либо насыпью на застеленном полу, либо в овощной сушилке. Те, что использую чаще всего, так и держу в открытом доступе на полу. Однако, нужно избегать попадания прямых солнечных лучей на сухие листья. Иначе они становятся непригодны. Начиная работу над вещью, я определяю количество нужных листьев и не беру лишних. Сухие листья я замачиваю в чистой кипящей воде на несколько минут. Лишние замоченные листья придется выбросить, оставлять листья более, чем на день до экстракции, не целесообразно. Хотя какие-то листья могут давать краситель и через две недели в воде, однако цвета будут более замутненными, а некоторые из них могут просто испортить всю работу. Поэтому, я предпочитаю не рисковать и брать только необходимое для работы количество. Здесь я использовала как листья, заготовленные этой осенью, так и те, что уже давно у меня хранятся.

Раскладывая листья на ткани, нужно обращать внимания на некоторые обстоятельства, определенные анатомией листа. Прежде всего следует помнить, что жесткий конец черенка листа может прорвать тонкие ткани. Строение листа таково, что устьица, то есть поры, через которые происходит испарение воды и газообмен, чаще всего располагаются на нижней стороне листа, однако у некоторых растений есть и на обеих сторонах, и на верхней стороне. На определенных тканях то, какой стороной лист примыкает к поверхности, влияет на характер отпечатка, могут появляться ореолы. Кончик черенка листа также часто может давать ореол. Листья, накладывающиеся друг на друга при экстракции могут улучшить как общий дизайн, так и формирование цвета. Ткани после крашения я раскрываю немедленно. Процесс формирования цвета идет дальше на воздухе, он продолжается еще несколько дней, уже на сухой ткани.

О моем рабочем расписании. Недавно в мое расписание были внесены значительные изменения. Среди прочего, запланированные индивидуальные классы в моей домашней мастерской на июнь-июль отменяются. О новом расписании я сообщу.

Скоро в моем магазине на етси появятся новые штуки. Я надеюсь на чистоту цвета и красоту дизайна в новых вещах 🙂 А вот, послушайте музыку, под которую я писала это пост: здесь

 

 

 

 


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