Nature is the creator of beauty.
Using eucalyptus leaves as the main design feature has become one of the textile techniques that intrigues me most. I started many years ago, investigating various ways to preserve the fantastic shapes and colour of plant forms in fabric. At the time I had not seen anyone else doing this. I used gigantic leaves from blue gums and manna gums from the Strathbogie Ranges, and experimented with mature and juvenile leaves, seedpods and flower buds.
I gave my technique the title of Leaf Embossing, because of the three dimensional impression left in the cloth after tight wrapping, binding and treatment with heat and pressure.
In more recent times artists from many countries use similar processes. Various names are used – eco bundling, eco printing or botanical printing. I guess each artist is using their own technique – its interesting that there has been such synchronicity. In the next few days, I will put together a reference list of some of the artists whose work (in my opinion) is really outstanding.
For me, super fine merino wool jersey is a very receptive ground. Wool so readily absorbs the natural colour, and provided the binding has been tightly executed, and enough heat and time is allowed, a wool leaf embossing can be extremely satisfying, with very distinct leaf shapes impressed permanently into the surface. Whilst at times, I encourage colour from my dye to enter into the composition, at other times, I use iron in various forms to create tonality.
I am often striving to exclude all other dye colour, and create pieces that are a pure arrangement of of leaf shapes on a white ground. For this there needs to be a very distinct binding technique used, allowing pressure and time is optimum effect.
Silk is always beautiful because the light reflected from the surface generates a vibrancy. Silk satin eucalyptus leaf embossed dress
Pure merino wool jersey art shawl, and a wool jersey dress leaf embossed with eucalyptus leaves. Head shawl is dyed with Wollumbin Red Gondwana Colour
My technique of Leaf Embossing is being assessed here by Indrasen Vencatacellum the UNESCO representative at International Forum of Natural Dyes and WEFT Conference in Nantou Taiwan.