Lilac pongé silk scarf from 170-45cm. Painted with natural fabrics, Bluewood and Annato. Ecoprint with leaves of Chestnut and Blackberry, among others
Ecoprinting? What exactly is that?
Ecoprinting is the acquisition of prints, of leaves (vegetable material) on a basis of vegetable or animal fibers, such as a silk scarf, for example. Because leaves contain tannin, you have the option to print it on fabrics in a permanent color.
You don’t just do this for a while, but require a chemical process (with natural materials!) and heat processing.
Not every leaf is equally successful in the print it leaves behind, because some have a much higher tannin content than others. The top and bottom of leaves both produce different results. The results also vary by place of origin, time of year and even the time of day. This is also because there are so many invisible chemical processes taking place.
This is also the special thing about the art of ecoprinting, the dyeing with natural plant material.
How is a naturally dyed scarf made with ecoprints?
No Trace buys beautiful Pongé silk scarves. Wendy then searches in her area, or further a road, for beautiful, suitable leaves for ecoprinting.
A beautiful color is mixed with the use of vegetable dyes (e.g. walnut peels, bluewood or black-collar) or acid dye (acid-based dyeing).
The leaves are arranged in a suitable pattern, and the paint is added to the scarf. Then follows a precise process of folding, rolling, steaming and waiting a long time. This is necessary to allow the leaves to give their impression to the scarf.
Unpacking the scarves is always a gift in itself. I never know exactly what’s going to come out!
Here comes a beautiful philosophy of life, namely wabi-sabi… you respect what nature does and see the beauty of imperfection, temporality and incompleteness. Being satisfied with what you are given, that is what ecoprinting is. It is not an exact science, it is never perfect, but it is always unique, beautiful, exciting and made with love.