hand-dyed fabrics


Inspired at first by the wonderful shapes of the artichoke leaves growing in the backyard in California, I started trying to make images of them on cloth.  My first attempts focused on coating a leaf with dye and printing that on the cloth to make a positive image.  This was (still is!) a pretty tedious business, and I've moved on to coloring a fabric using mostly negative images of leaves; I hold a leaf on the cloth in one hand and apply thickened dye with a roller held in the other.  I usually use many colors in one cloth, overlapping shapes and colors to create a very complex visual surface.

To the right is the first of my sumac pieces.  Sumac is a weedy shrub which proliferates in Vermont.  In the fall, its leaves turn a beautiful orange-red.  It felt very luxurious to have as many leaves to use as I could possibly want, and the varying sizes made a nice variety in the resulting fabric.

Below is another of the sumac fabrics, and here's a link to a page that has yet another length, in quite different colors.

To the right is one of the pieces I've done in California. It uses the artichoke leaves which originally inspired all this leaf business in the first place!

For a larger image of this cloth, click here

On the left is an early piece of leaf-patterned cloth. Using a roller filled with a dark purple-pinkish dye, I rolled over the interesting leaves of an unknown (by me, anyway) groundcover growing by the shores of Lake Champlain.  I then did a simple ombre over the patterned cloth.

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