Module III:

Surface Design 1

combining eco-print with background colour

extraction of pigment from whole plant parts, combined with whole cloth dyes…

If pigment can be extracted from plant parts chopped up and brewed in a dye pot, then pigment also can be extracted - along with shapes and surface details, such as leaf veins - from the application of heat to whole plant material in close contact with a substrate, such as cloth or paper. For the beginner eco-printer, it can take years to develop techniques for consistently clear prints, particularly when attempting to combine contact print techniques with overall background colour. Skip the heartache, and all of the wasted materials, and learn it right the first time.

Many contemporary practitioners use endless amounts of disposable plastic sheets in their eco-print practice and workshops. In this Module, you will learn completely plastic-free methods for achieving beautiful clear prints in combination with rich background colour. Our precious, beleaguered planet thanks you.


what you’ll learn


This is not an introductory workshop. While it’s ok for the student to be new to eco-printing (as principles and practices of eco-printing will be thoroughly covered in this Module), the student must have experience with effective natural dyeing, as core knowledge of how to make and use a dye bath, how different natural dyes behave, etc. will not be covered in this Module.

Completing Modules I and II will thoroughly prepare a student for Modules III and/or IV, but students who have gained this background elsewhere also are welcome to register.

For students who have not completed Modules I and II, a few pre-registration questions will be used to assess readiness for Modules III and/or IV

In this Module, we will learn to achieve sophisticated, richly coloured, three dimensional surface designs. Students will gain an advanced skill set of methods to combine whole cloth dyeing with eco-printing.

  • Build your local plant list

    • identify appropriate plants for eco-printing

    • understand a plant part’s resist, discharge, mordant, pigment, and/or other properties relevant to eco-printing, and how to test for these properties

    • learn basic seasonal developments in plants that can affect eco-print results

    • identify tools (books, online resources, apps, etc.) to help you safely identify usable plant parts

    • ecologically mindful growing and foraging of plant material for eco-prints

    • how to choose, prepare and store plant material for use out of season

  • Develop a toolbox of printing/dyeing methods

    • learn three different methods for creating three dimensionality with printed leaves and other plant parts

    • learn three different methods for combining eco-prints with rich background colour

    • learn additional methods for combining natural dyes with plant material for beautiful print results

    • all about carrier cloths and barrier cloths, and how to use them to achieve different results

    • plastic-free resist/barrier materials to create highly defined prints

    • introducing additional mordants, modifiers, and assists into your eco-print process to expand the range of results you can achieve

    • design considerations for effective results

    • various methods for managing large pieces of cloth

    • how to properly care for your eco-printed, naturally dyed textiles

what you’ll receive

Each module begins with downloadable instructions that cover the following.

  • a list of materials and equipment you will need to acquire in advance of the Module

  • calendar of the topics and assignment for each week

  • links to relevant background reading (course material prepared by the instructor, as well as links to recommended online resources)

  • links to instructional videos (generally one per week) on each week’s topic

  • links to the online forum for weekly discussions of the results of that week’s assignment

    • each student has the opportunity for a weekly, up to one hour, 1:1 session with the instructor via Skype or WhatsApp, for dedicated feedback and discussion on the results of that week’s assignment - i.e. not for general discussion (optional, not mandatory)

    • 2 days per week are set aside by the instructor for these sessions to accommodate various time zones, students’ schedules, etc.