top of page

Embracing the Core Skill of Ecoprinting

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Welcome! Some quick news....

A quick update on my website. I moved from a Wordpress site to a Wix platform and I am hoping it was not a mistake. I paid a web developer and many of my images did not make it over, Not pleased! So If you find any link not working (especially past newsletters and blogs!) please alert me so I can correct it.Time slipped away. I head to Florida in just a few days to teach a workshop on Ecoprinting on Leather.  That  filled quickly but not to worry I have a few spaces in my April 18-19 Leather workshop in NC

Exciting Tutorial I am so pleased to be able to offer my Core techniques in a comprehensive 35 page PDF tutorial on Ecoprinting on Silk and Wool! I teach this workshop at many Fiber Shows. If you cannot make a physical workshop then it is a cost effective way to step into  the wonders of Ecoprinting. Many images and with an emphasis on working with what is in your own backyard!  It is a great refresher  for those who have participated  in my workshops and are eager to re-start as spring approaches! It's in my shop and an Instant download! And yes-more coming soon on paper, leather, hand painting.....ask me!. Also I share tips and techniques with videos on my YouTube channel for you to enjoy! You are stepping into my world :-)

All of the above colors and imprints were from Core skills-no chemistry degree needed!

Embracing the Core Skills of Ecoprinting

What is it about Ecoprinting that is so captivating? Is it the actual collecting of the leaves and plants? The process? Or the final unveiling of a design imprinted with Nature's bounty?  Well let's find out why the basics are so important.

So what do I mean by core skills? Core skills are the basics. The colors of Nature. In fact the basics are what started the whole ecoprint trend. If you have seen the imprints of leaves on your deck, sidewalks or even car windshields after a hard rain, then you are looking at a form of ecoprinting! When you brush away those leaves that have dried, the outlines are clearly visible and it's hard not to marvel at them. The difference between what is on your deck and what is on your fabrics is eventually the images on your deck fade but they stay on your fabric. Now I am talking about protein fibers-the ones made by 'animals" such as sheep and silk worms.Protein fibers,turned into silk and wool fabric and plants and protein fibers go together like peanut butter and jelly! Cellulose fibers are plant based fabrics such as cotton and linen and are less receptive to the core skills. They require different techniques. So for my workshops I stay with silk and wool-beginner (and advanced) results are beautiful and nothing is better than success at your first attempt!

So what else separates the imprints on your deck with imprints on silk or wool besides besides the deck ones fading? Mordants.  Briefly, from the earliest days of history, weavers have known about mordants which basically means "to bite" or attach to a surface. Mordants help natural dyes adhere to fabrics. All plants have some degree of tannins which are what leaves a plant imprint of varying levels of intensity, onto a surface. A mordant helps the tannins attach themselves to the substrate (fabric) thus making the design as permanent as any fabric dye can be!

So I experimented with a lot of mordants! Not all plants require the use of a mordant. Non-native to the US (except where introduced) plants such as Eucalyptus are well known in Australia. But using certain mordants such as Titanium Oxalate (see my past blog on mordants) can help you achieve an orange-like to reddish color with a leaf that normally imprints in shade of brown to green. The mordant, iron sulfate is the most commonly used mordant and easily obtainable. All simply help your leaf, plant and flowers adhere on a more permanent basis to your fabrics.

The beauty of Ecoprinting is that you probably have most of the equipment you need!

With the exception of possibly the digital thermometer, you already have all of this in your home or easily attainable. The wood dowels are cut from closet rods found at your home goods store. Missing in this photo is my big bundle of twine for wrapping. And take photos before bundling. You will not remember many of the plants afterwards!.

In the beginning-LAYER your leaves-it is how you learn what is the best printer at the time you are printing! See why we photograph? :-) Later, be selective and artistic and play with design. Right now-you are learning!

  So spend time on those Core skills-learning your mordants, learning your plants. When you have spent time with your trees, plants and gardens and gotten to know the moods and differences, then by all means move onto into using dyes and other fabrics. But knowing your core skills inside and out means only success in your next Ecoprint adventure!

2020 updates

I have not set a date yet for Ecoprinting on Paper (a one day workshop) but we will be doing a small amount in both of my Nature Immersion and Ecoprint Retreats!

March 13-14, 2020, Raleigh, NC-   Carolina Fiber Fest I will be teaching several workshops here again this year. Registration will open soon.   Easy Dye Silk Scarves  with Theresa Brown Friday March 13, 2020 2:30 – 5:30 pm

Ecoprinting on Silk and Wool with M Theresa Brown Sunday March 15, 2020 10:00 am -5:00 pm. Please note that this workshop will be taught on SUNDAY MARCH 15 . 

April 3-5, 2020 -Nature Immersion Ecoprint Retreat-NC April 18-19,2020  Franklinton Studio, NC -Ecoprint on Leather

April 29-May 3, 2020 -Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival I will be teaching 3 full days at this event in Maryland beginning April 29-all involved ecoprinting on wool. Basics, in color and a wallhanging! Their workshops have not yet gone live. May 16-17 Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival I will be teaching 2 ecoprint workshops: Core printing and using dye blankets on wool. Workshops are not live yet on site! May 29-31 NC-Nature and Ecoprint Retreat in NC June 4-6, 2020-Blue Ridge Fiber Fest in Sparta, NC info coming

August 4-7-HIghland Arts Academy, info coming soon

August 12-16- Michigan Fiber fest-Allegan MI

As always, I am easy to reach!

Warm Regards, Theresa

584 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page