Books: Natural Processes in Textile Art

As the work in this section has been inspired by medicinal plants, I wanted to bring natural processes into my work and found Natural Processes in Textile Art: From Rust Dyeing to Found Objects by Alice Fox in my local library.

There is a wealth of techniques and ideas in here that I would like to try:

  • Onion skins (red and white), used tea bags, discarded outer leaves of red cabbage, avocado skins and stones, beetroot skins, out of date spices, teas or coffee grounds can all be used for mark-making, dyeing, staining or painting. (p25)
  • In her work “Gifts from the Pavement” Fox layered marks including rust prints or leaf prints, wetted pages with tea and laid items on top and let them dry, rollers with most of the ink removed to add texture, printmaking and finally stitches. As well as playing with black tea I am intrigued to try using herbal teas to take prints from the plants that they are made from. It will also be interesting to see if the prescription leaflets from the medications with similar properties can be dyed/printed on. (p26)
  • Eco printing is when colour is transferred directly from plant matter on to cloth or paper. The general method is to layer leaves and plant matter along with metal found items (the metal acts as a mordant helping to fix the colours) with fabric or paper, fold/bundle them together and steam or simmer the bundle. The bundles must be left until completely dry before unwrapping to see the results (p32)
  • Vegetable inks can be made by simmering vegetable matter in a pan with just enough water to cover for 20 mins. Strain off the solids and boil to reduce to required consistency. Adding vinegar or baking soda alters the pH and can alter the colour too. Results may vary on differing pH papers. Ground turmeric could be used for a bright yellow (p47)
  • Grasses and nettles can be stripped and twisted into strings (p79)
  • Leaves can be used to print or take rubbings from. Wax rubbings will work as a resist to other dyes. (p94)
  • Thick paper can be embossed with objects if damp ie soak for a while before blotting as you want it damp not wet. (p97)
  • Perhaps try stitching the textile first and printing/dyeing after (p104)
  • Fine sheets can be layered together using wax as this method allows small items to be trapped between the layers (p106)


Fox, A. (2015) Natural Processes in Textile Art: From Rust Dyeing to Found Objects London: Batsford

One thought on “Books: Natural Processes in Textile Art

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s