This technique is quite incredible and until recently I had no idea this was possible! Nature has so many amazing things to surprise us with! It’s not printing as you know it, it uses actual leaves, pressure and steam. It’s particularly suitable for silk and other natural fibres. What you see on the fabric is a mark left by the leaves. Many leaves contain something called tannin, a strong natural dye that makes a lasting print – if you ever tried washing a grass stain you know what I mean! And that’s not even set by steam. I also use natural dyes to add some more colour to the background. Each scarf us unique.
Some leaves leave a print in various colours, other leaves discharge the dye used for the background, or change its colour. It’s just so fascinating and sometimes you get very surprising result even if you follow exactly the same process and use the same leaves. It even makes a difference from what location they are and what season it is. I have done a lot of research, learning and experimenting. It resulted in creating some stunning scarves (even if I do say so myself 😉 )
Some of my favourite leaves to print with are Ferns and Eucalyptus leaves. Particularly fern prints can be so delicate and beautiful. I use this technique on both, thinner and heavier weight scarves.
I don’t iron these scarves completely flat because of the 3D texture leaves create during the process – and it adds to the beauty of it. All botanical scarves are part of my Natural Collection, they feel a bit more rustic and no synthetic dyes are involved in the process.
The colours in this process are very difficult to control, therefore I can’t aim for particular shades. I would say most of the Natural Collection scarves would be closest to the Autumn colour season. The colours are not as bright as with the synthetic silk dyes, but I do find them beautiful.
The background colour of my scarves in the Natural Collection is achieved using natural dyes, therefore even though I do everything to make them light fast, I wouldn’t leave them laying around in a direct sunlight. The dyes are very wash fast, but I recommend being careful (especially with the shades of blue) and not exposing them to the light when they are not being worn.
These scarves should always be hand-washed only, I use either Ecover dishwashing liquid (surprisingly suitable and PH neutral) or a gentle shampoo. I do not recommend using vinegar – it will shift the colours.