Eco Printed Eggs


Eco printing is one of the natural dyeing techniques that I quite enjoy. You never quite know what the outcome will be, it is beyond unpredictable, and that is what makes it so fun.

blog eco print egg _4500I usually eco print on silk or cotton, creating scarves or stitched pieces. Generally it is a summer activity as I prefer to work with leaves and flowers gathered in my garden.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that eco printing also worked on eggs. As I had to boil eggs for a school project anyways (and I have a HUGE stash of onion skins saved), so I thought it would be fun to try.

We started with a plain old, white, uncooked egg. Wrapped it in onion skins. Secured it with elastic bands. Then hard boiled the egg just as normal.

Once the egg was cooled we carefully unwrapped the egg and ended up with a beautiful surprise.

blog eco print egg_4554Quite a beautiful and safe way to dye an Easter egg.


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Bull Fighting

blog bull fighting

detail of piece, bull skull measures 6 inches across

Working on this piece has been so rough it has felt like bull fighting. What a trial.

I think I may have shared a snippet of this piece before so I thought I would do a “work in progress” post as incentive to get the piece finished. Originally I started this work back in October or November, it fit a theme for a submission so I jumped in with both feet. I quickly discovered an ambitious idea, even on a small scale, takes a lot longer than a few weeks to complete so I abandoned any thought of submitting the piece.

I wanted to put together a fibre piece that had a lot of different elements. So far this piece has been naturally dyed, eco printed, had a lino-cut made of the bull skull and then printed on the fabric, it has been stitched with various hand dyed threads including some very thick lopi. Beading is still to come.

Composition was a challenge from the beginning, probably because I didn’t plot everything out and just went for it……..and then changed my mind from a small 5″x7″ piece to a 9.5″x14 inch piece part way through when I realized I wasn’t going to submit it. Thankfully the lopi helped tie the composition together.

The lino-cut didn’t reproduce exactly how I had planned either with the final look being thin and grayish. I’m not sure if the natural dye I used was maybe weaker than my last batch, or it was a case of printing a lino cut on the naturally dyed eco-printed fabric, but things didn’t go to plan. Perhaps a mix of too many variables to really be able to pinpoint the lino-cut issues. Rather than dwell on the issues stitching seemed to be the answer. I will try a print on plain fabric once this project is done and then I can see if there is a dye problem and then fix it if needed.

The other challenge has been the actually stitching, the fabric (2 layers) is almost impossible to get a needle through. I have never encountered this before. So far I have tried many different needle and thread combinations but the result has been the same, the only way I can stitch is pulling the needle through one stitch at a time with pliers. It has taken forever. Strange thing is I have used these fabrics before , they are just different cottons, and one layer at a time they are fine, but going through two layers is impossible without pliers (and you have to pull really hard too!). Really odd.

So what is left to do? I need to finish up the “grassland” stitching and stitch around the eco-printed leaves (these items aren’t included in the detailed section in the picture shown). After that a little bit of beading just to add in one more element and introduce a new texture and some new colors. The last decision will be how to frame or hang the piece (never easy to figure out).

There is still a very long way to go.


For those who are interested, I have a new photo project blog going, a photo essay of our neighbourhoood. It is a “mostly pictures and not much text” blog that evolved out of another blog that was started almost a year ago. I think it will be interesting to explore our neighbourhood through a lens. The blog can be found HERE if you are interested.

Of course I still write at the blogs  Island Home and  Debra Hunter as well. Each blog has a different focus and they are pretty fun to write.


Today’s W.I.P.’s

blog wip nov 1

painting detail

The start of a new arbutus painting. This time on a panel 11×14 in size.

blog wip nov 4

coffee sweater in progress knit with wool dyed in chamomile, brazilwood and indigo

More knitting. I have sold almost all of my stock. It is a little scary to have no extra pieces made so it is time to knit.

blog wip nov 2

dyeing yarn in lac

More dyeing. This morning it was with lac, later it will be madder.

blog wip nov 3

start of a new fibre art piece on a smaller scale

A natural dye lino cut, printed on a eco print, being stitched. The lino cut dye acted differently. I have to figure out if it is the dye, the fabric or the eco print causing the change.

blog wip nov 5Today’s weather. Not fun to drive in.

On top of all this a 6 to 7 hour shoot this afternoon and evening. Luckily everything should quiet down photography-wise after this weekend allowing the “works in progress” to become finished pieces.

Collecting Dye Stuff

Yesterday we collected bits for dyeing from our garden. Arbutus bark, fallen eucalyptus leaves and dead headed marigolds. Perhaps the makings for an eco dyed scarf or a “stuff and store” if the recycle depot has a good jar.

“River” Update – April 25, 2014

Time for another update on the “river” piece. I really thought I would have a lot more done on it by now. My original goal was one month for dyeing and stitching and one month for beading, I am not so sure one month was a realistic expectation for stitching a piece that is almost 3 feet in height. I did take the piece out to the coast to work on over Easter, but things like planting an apple tree, walking on beaches and finishing a fireplace took priority. (Word of advise, if you ever buy a house that has left a project unfinished for 20 years it is probably going to be a pain to complete……….as was the case with the fireplace……..but back to the topic!) I did manage to stitch from Vancouver to Kamloops on the drive home. Here is what the piece looks like at the moment:

"river" - WIP - april 25 2014There is still a very long way to go. To give an idea of scale, the largest dead tree trunk on the right is just about 10 inches long, there is a lot of area to cover with tiny stitches.

The detailed shots below will show why this is taking so long. I can hardly wait until I am up to the beading.

The weekend looks like it will be chilly and wet (so no trip to the cabin) which will give me a chance to stitch a lot.


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A Sweet Smelling Project

A few days ago I posted a picture of a beaded heart on eco-printed and naturally dyed fabric on my other blog. It was the start of an idea. I have a fair bit of naturally dyed and eco-printed silk hanging around the house and wanted to come up with a way to use it. They are all little pieces that had been popped into the dye pot as experiments; a lot of the pieces are smaller than 6 inches by 10 inches which really limits what you can do with them. The idea of making lavender sachets came to me.

blog heart sachet 1

I have been researching deer resistant plants for our place on the coast recently, as the deer eat EVERYTHING. We are slowly reworking areas of the garden that resemble a secret garden and are trying to put in fairly robust plants. It seemed to make sense (or should that be scents! LOL!) to try making a project where I could potentially use the plant’s flowers if we decide to try growing lavender.

blog heart sachet 2

Of course I can never just make something simple. The fabric is dyed in cranberry and madder and eco-printed with onion skin. The sachet is then embellished with hand stitching and beading by hand. Of course I couldn’t resist a few beads on the ties either. The sachet is refillable rather than disposable, and is filled with a mix of flax seed and lavender. I am test driving it as we speak. A pretty and nice smelling addition to a closet, wardrobe or drawer.

blog heart sachet 3

Rundle – Work in Progress October Update

It feels like I have really been lagging behind in blogging as of late, not so much because I have nothing to blog about, but more because I seem to have so much going on and life is quite busy. I seem to have a different fibre project in progress in every room of the house at the moment, plus illustrations and illustration reference pictures dotted all over the place; there is a lot going on.

We also just returned from another quick trip out to the “left” coast. My original plan was to get a lot of stitching done while we were out there, but I seemed to spend all the time that wasn’t on the beaches working in the garden and planting trees. I did get a solid 3 and a half hours of stitching completed on a ferry that was running very late (thanks to the driver of the blue mini-van that wouldn’t go and move their van for over a half hour so that they could actually unload the boat at Mayne Island…..long weekends…..sigh!). I was probably the only one on the whole boat who actually benefitted from the delay. The piece I was working on was “Rundle” so I thought I would do a “work in progress” post.

"Rundle" - before the latest work

“Rundle” – before the latest work

Here is the piece after my last “work in progress” post.

rundle october work in progressHere is “Rundle” currently. The color looks a bit different as the first image was a quick shot taken outside while the second shot I took in the studio.

I have started working on the lower left hand corner. It still needs a lot of work, but I do like the color of the silk in the green leaves. Now I need to build up more plant life in this area.

leavesI also added in more detail into the pale green leaves and started to stitch some detail into the lake. I will continue to add more mini foliage around the edge of the lake.

detail in the lakeSwirls have been stitched into the sky area in fine silk thread. At the moment the effect is very subtle, however I think I may keep stitching in this area to make the effect stronger.

sky detail

This piece continues to be a challenge. As the silk is so reflective, the look of the piece changes depending on the lighting conditions it is viewed under, this makes keeping good contrast quite a trial. There is definitely a lot more stitching needed to complete “Rundle”.

Eco-print Experiment Success

I expect the occasional reader is going to look at this post and say “Huh?”, shake their head, and move on, but I am pretty excited about the outcome of this latest eco print.

madder marigold rose leaf eco-printI have been toying with mixing naturally dyed cloth with eco-printing. There have been some disasters and disappointments along the way. Sometimes an idea on paper doesn’t exactly work in the dye pot. This time I finally achieved a useable result. The fabric is dyed with marigold grown in my garden and madder, plus eco-printed with rose leaves from my front garden. The fabric is 100% cotton and measures 22 inches by 45 inches, so a decent sized piece of fabric to work with.

madder marigold rose leaf eco-printInterestingly, when I unbundled the piece there were tons of little spots that seemed to resist the dyeing and eco-printing in the very centre of the dots. I have no idea what created the dots, but I guess that is the joy of eco-printing, never knowing exactly what the final result will be.

This should be an interesting piece to turn into “something” in the coming winter months.