Art at Ramsey Dec 4, 2021

29 11 2021

I’ll have my botanical printed textiles at this juried art fair in St. Paul, Minnesota again this year— scarves, shawls and table runners. I’ve also been having fun printing on paper and will have some small blank journals with botanical printed covers. One of the better art fairs in the Twin Cities, I think, with a nice selection of art and fine craft. No supply chain problems when you buy from local artists! 😉

My botanical prints are available at:

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My Mobile Eco Printing Studio

6 07 2021

At the end of the summer a few years back I gathered up some eco printing supplies and took them out to my funky little houseboat on the St. Croix River. For those unfamiliar with the St. Croix, it forms quite a bit of the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Designated as a National Scenic and Wild River, it is fairly unspoiled and wild, with little development. Only an hour’s drive from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, I use my houseboat as a floating cabin.


I used a campfire to simmer a dyebath of sumac berries, and gathered and bundled local plants to steam or simmer over the fire. Keeping the fire going at a consistent temperature for at least 2 hours was the biggest challenge.  I love water lilies, so I went out in my kayak and gathered water lily and other leaves to try printing. Here are some images from my eco printing adventures on the river.  (I hope to have another eco printing retreat this summer.)

Wall Hanging at Vine Arts Center Member Show: Water Lily Leaves on Silk

Dyeing with Buckthorn Twigs

2 03 2020

Wow, I am SO far behind on posting about all my eco / botanical printing adventures, experiments and discoveries! Instead of trying to put things in the order in which they occurred – because I’m the only one who would probably know or care – guess I’ll just start posting again.

Dyeing with Buckthorn 

I love the idea of using plants on the invasive species list to print with or use as dye. I’ve been collecting Buckthorn berries for awhile, but it took taking a class from Anabelle (from Indigo and Snow) at the Textile Center to give Buckthorn a try.

We gathered twigs, cut them up unto 1” pieces, cooked them for an hour or so, strained out the twigs, then dyed our pre-mordanted silk and cotton items for about 30 minutes, letting them sit in the dye overnight before rinsing and washing. Here are my results on Habotai silk and a cotton tote; quite a lovely gold!

Buckthorn dye on silk scarf and cotton tote. The color on silk really shimmers in sunlight.

The silk was pre-mordanted in Alum (Potassium Aluminum Sulfate), and the cotton tote in Aluminum Acetate, which is a good mordant for cellulose fibers.

Next time I’d like to try dyeing with the berries, both green and ripe/black, to compare to the color from the twigs.  I would also let the Buckthorn twigs sit overnight after simmering to extract more color before dyeing.

I wonder what other invasive species might yield color?

Buckthorn dyed cotton tote before ironing; still wet on snow.

Seward Art Crawl 2017

3 12 2017

My 8th year participating in my neighborhood Seward “Winter Frolic”/Art Crawl in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Balmy weather this year, in the 50’s! Some years the first weekend in December has brought below zero temps and snowstorms. Good weather for “crawling”. Along with my eco printed textiles and pottery in my home, the tours of my new backyard studio were popular. This fall I converted an 8×16’ ice fishing house I found on Craigslist to a studio for eco printing and other creative endeavors in the future. My new studio probably requires it’s own blog post, but here are a few photos of the crawl and my new fish house studio.



Inside of my new 8×16′ “art shanty”

The inside of the fish house with built-ins and fishing holes removed. Found a great narrow table/work surface from Ikea — on Craigslist, of course! (Guess there’s a reason my friends call me the Craigslist Queen.)



Logwood dyed silk scarf printed with Catalpa and individual Sumac leaves.

And some photos that go with the ice fishing house theme… Ice caves on the shore of Lake Superior when the lake froze solid a few years ago. Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. Brrr, that was a very cold photography expedition, but so worth it!C998E483-AAC7-4E8E-9DB3-9C4DBBEA2C99


Dyeing Silk with Brazilwood Shavings

8 05 2017

My friend and master violin bow maker Lee Guthrie gave me some shavings from Brazilian Pernambuco wood, which makes a stunning crimson red dye. Known as Brazilwood by dyers and favored by bow makers, it’s also an historically important dye material. The name for the country of Brazil is actually shortened from Terra do Brasil “land of brazilwood”, since it was so important to the economy. Brazilwood dye can also refer to a related Asian species of Caesalpinia or Sappanwood. See the Wikipedia entry for more background information.


Simmering Brazil wood shavings


Shades of red from Brazilwood dye

To make the dye, I poured boiling water over a big handful and let it sit overnight. I soon discovered that it’s a very strong dye, so I removed some shavings and simmered the rest for about 1 hour. The silk scarves were pre-mordanted with alum, then brought to a simmer, turned off and cooled overnight. Shavings can be dried and used again for lighter shades. Iron darkened the color to a burgundy. Eco printing with leaves was done after dyeing.


Silk Scarf dyed with Brazilwood and eco printed with local leaves


Brazilwood dyed silk scarf with iron

*  View my available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP. *

Eco Printing with Tropical Leaves

4 03 2017

At the end of January I again had the opportunity to combine a winter vacation with eco printing in Mexico. I stayed at my Minnesota friends’ house in Puerto Morelos (a small beachfront town just south of Cancun) in exchange for sharing some new techniques I’ve learned in the past year with their Mexican artisan friend, Angelica. We built on what we learned last year about some of the local plants that print well, and added some natural dyes to the mix. We tried using the local tropical almond tree leaves for a dyebath, which gave a beautiful gold color. Here are a few images from the mini-workshop.  I especially love the unknown vine that was easy to find and printed up nicely, with and without iron.




*  View my available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP. *

Indigo and Eco Printing Workshop with Pia Best-Reininghaus

25 02 2017

Here are some images from a great workshop I took with Pia Best-Reininghaus, assisted by her daughter Maria, on combining eco printing with Indigo dye. Robbin Firth of Heartfelt Silks in Hudson, Wisconsin organized the workshop and it was held at the Textile Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has a great dye lab. Fall 2016 workshop.

We dyed and printed on cellulose fibers (viscose rayon, cotton & linen) as well as silk, incorporating rusty iron for some stunning results.

Here are a few of my favorite results. I first dyed my rayon and silk scarves blue with indigo, then eco printed leaves with steam – for 5 hours!

This was a good introduction to indigo dyeing for me; only the second time I had access to an indigo vat. I ended up taking home some of the leftover indigo dye. After finding a big used pot and propane burner so I could heat it up outside, I was able to revive the indigo and dyed more scarves and fabric, using some Shibori resist techniques on some, and eco printing leaves on others.

The vat froze pretty solid over the winter in my garage here in Minnesota, so I’ll see if I can revive it when it warms up. (It was like one huge blue ice cube!)  No idea if that’s possible! This leftover vat used thiox and soda ash.  I dislike the strong chemical smell of thiox/Rit Color Remover, so when I mix up my own vat from scratch next time I’ll try Michel Garcia’s organic fermented vat 1-2-3 technique.

(Note: The vat worked just fine after being frozen all winter.)

*  Visit the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP. *


Eucalyptus Color Tests for Eco Printing

18 02 2017

I love to experiment!  It takes a certain amount of discipline and organization, but I’m always glad when I take the time. I mostly use my local leaves for eco printing, but I also love the colors and shapes of Eucalyptus leaves and seeds. Australian Eucalyptus, in the hands of India Flint, inspired the eco printing process, at least as I understand it. Since I’m a long way from Eucalyptus country here in Minnesota, I buy bunches from Trader Joe’s.

When I recently gathered up all my dried materials to move into studio space so I could spread out, I discovered quite a few dried Eucalyptus bunches I had stashed away!  (Is there a support group for Eucalyptus hoarders?)  The color from Eucalyptus leaves can vary from brown to orange to red, depending on many factors, including the type of Euca, growing conditions as well as the eco printing process. Knowing what color they will print is helpful when I want more control over design. So I decided to test my leaves for color, by taking a few leaves from each bunch. The tricky part was tracking which bunch the leaves came from… Here is my process.

  • Habotai silk fabric, Test 1 pre-mordanted in Alum at 20% WOF (weight of fiber); Test 2 no Alum
  • Bundled dry so I could track which leaves came from which branch.
  • Silk soaked in fairly weak rusty iron water about 10 minutes, as I’ve found a bit of iron brings out the richness of the colors in Euca leaves.
  • Plastic layer to TRY to keep the prints separate. (Interesting result, see below.)
  • Steamed 2 hours, over just barely simmering water. (My roaster was sluggish.)


8 bunches of Eucalyptus (plus misc. leaves on right)


Test 1: Eucas on silk pre-mordanted with Alum


Test 1 Results


Test 2: Silk no mordant (Eucas +2 poinsettia leaves on right end)


Test 2 Results


  • Leaves at 5 cm and 11 cm produced the strongest color. I think the leaves at 5 are the large Silver Dollar Euca.
  • Round leaves tended to produce more reds, although not all the round leaves did.
  • Alum pre-mordant didn’t make much of a difference. This was interesting, as I’ve heard you can’t get red from Euca leaves if you mordant with alum. Hmmm….
  • Plastic layer: All the strong reds snuck right through the plastic and repeat printed! The red prints on the far left end of both pieces are repeat prints from leaves at 5 cm. That was surprising!

So… keep some fabric scraps handy and keep experimenting!

Euca Maple scarf

Silk scarf eco printed with eucalyptus and maple leaves


** View available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP.**


Eco Print Workshop with Irit Dulman

9 11 2016

Fusion of Botanical Print and Natural Dyeing.  

I am SO behind on updating my eco printing blog!  Better late than never… I attended two wonderful eco printing workshops this past summer and fall. The first was with Irit Dulman, a master eco printer who lives in Israel, at the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island in Washington in June 2016.  She’s a master eco printer with the artistic eye of a designer, who seems to keep experimenting with new techniques.

I was able to combine my trip to Washington with a mini-college roommate reunion, since one lives only about an hour north of the art school. Here are some images of the workshop. Click on an image to see a larger view.  If you ever have the opportunity to take a workshop with Irit, go for it!  I learned so much.

Irit Dulman workshop

Some of my results:
Natural dyes: Logwood, Indigo, Cochineal and Weld
Leaves: Smokebush, Japanese maple, Sumac, Horse chestnut, etc.

** View available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP.**

Eco Printing with Butternut Tree Leaves

26 04 2016

Butternut is one of my favorite leaves to eco print on silk. My friend Maria has a huge but ailing Butternut tree in her backyard here in Minneapolis and she’s not sure how much longer it will stand. Butternut trees have become fairly rare in this area, unlike the more common Black Walnut. We thought it would be nice to try printing leaves from her tree onto a silk scarf, so if/when the tree does have to come down, she’ll have a keepsake.

She saved me some leaves in the fall, after they had fallen. I pressed some that were still fairly fresh and dried the others in a grocery bag, as they were too crumpled and dry to press flat.  They printed beautifully, similar to Black Walnut leaves, but in a beautiful golden brown.

I folded the Habotai silk scarves when bundling to create a mirror image, showing both prints from the top and bottom of the leaves. I first soaked the scarves in a dilute solution of rusty iron water for about ½ hour to intensify the prints. I made a few so my friend could pick the one she liked the best. This is the one she picked:

Butternut leaf eco printed silk scarf

Butternut Leaf Eco Printed onto Silk Scarf, 31

Here are the other two scarves I printed using the Butternut leaves from her tree plus a few other leaves. To vary the effects, I used a layer of parchment paper on these two so the pigment from the leaf wouldn’t go through all the layers. I also wrapped the first scarf around a copper pipe instead of a wooden dowel. It would also be interesting to try Butternut leaves or nuts as a natural dye, although a bit tricky to get enough leaves from a huge tree or nuts before the squirrels get them!

Butternut eco printed silk scarf, 34

Butternut Leaf Eco Printed onto Silk Scarf, 31

** View available scarves in the Eco Print section of my ETSY SHOP.**


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