Botanical Printing Class

We now have a botanical printing class that has attracted over 40 people.

Please see the article below, written by Sheena Macleod

Printing with Botanicals – A Wee Story

Botanical printing, sometimes called Eco printing, is the art of using plants (or insects) to print on to the surface of paper or fabric.  This is where art and science meet, resulting in a unique piece of art work and providing the opportunity to be creative in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way

The process involves selecting plant material that will leave their shapes and colours on the paper or fabric.  Plant material and suitable mordants are bundled inside the target material and either steamed or boiled to release the dye and imprint it.  The mordant, from the Latin mordere meaning to bite, is used to fix the dye to the material and make it more permanent.

There are many variables in producing a botanical print, including the selection of plant material, time of year, growing conditions, the types and combinations of mordants used, the target material and if the process involves steaming or simmering.  Each artist will use a different mordant cocktail to get the results they want, although not guaranteed.  They tend not to share the recipe.

Commonly used chemical mordants include alum, copper and iron.  Plant based mordants include oak galls and staghorn sumac leaves which are rich in tannin.  Alum tends to make colours brighter and brings out the yellow shades, copper tends to make colours greener or brown whilst iron brings out darker shades.  Combinations of mordants and tannin will produce differing results which is part of the artists alchemy.  This is what makes the end result so unique.

Renowned and respected international botanical artists include; India Flint (Australia), Irit Dulman (Israel), Svetlana Sobko (Russia), Caroline Nixon (UK) and Nicola Brown (Ireland)

Finally, the internet is a good resource and there is an excellent worldwide facebook group called Printing with Botanicals

Anyone wishing to join the group can contact the office for more information