Sunday, 22 March 2009

Flower Power

At our Embroiderer's Guild on Friday evening we were treated to a fascinating talk by Linda Rudkin. On a visit to see the Bayeux Tapestry Linda was inspired by the vibrancy of the colours of the wools used for the embroidery and decided to investigate the types of natural dyes that might have been used. This has led to some wonderful work and fabulous discoveries which she very generously shared with us.

She was selling some of the plant materials she uses among which were these Woad seeds. Of course I couldn't resist and now plan on growing Woad this year... not to paint myself like the tribes of Boudicca but to produce a blue dye for fabrics and threads. Watch this space!

Linda was also running a workshop for the Guild on Saturday on "Flower Pounding". I was in Derbyshire on Saturday giving a talk to the Trent and Erewash Valley branch of the EG so I couldn't attend the class but Linda told us enough about the technique for me to give it a try and it was such fun I thought you might like to try too!

1. First select your plant material.


2. Pick the specimens you wish to use and arrange on a piece of white cotton.

3. Secure and cover with masking tape.


4. Turn the cotton over, place on a bread board and (this is the bit I liked) bash with a hammer.


5. As you bash you can start to see the plant dye being released on to the cotton.

6. When you've bashed enough, turn the cotton over and remove the masking tape.

7. And as if by magic... a perfect print of your flowers.

8. Which you can then stitch, paint or embellish to your heart's content.

9. And then turn into a Mother's Day card!

I've spent a lovely day with my Mum, Dad, Brother, his wife and the rest of the family plus two dogs. Lots of eating and drinking as usual! Hope you've had a lovely day too!

32 comments:

  1. Now that is very jolly clever Missus Flame. I especially like the flower-hammering bit!

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  2. Wow, I like this idea. I am off to the garden now. I have the same flowers so I shall use them.

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  3. I did flower pounding with Chrissythreads I seem to remember that we had to wash the fabric in a solution first. Its a good way of getting rid of those frustrations. Its just the right time of year too for those lovely little leaves full of sap, I seem to remember getting a good effect with red maple leaves. I love the way yours turned out. By the way I love reading your blog!

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  4. Well you learn something new every day, I had no idea you could do that, thanks Gina...very interesting. Glad you have had a good Mothering Sunday.

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  5. HI Gina,
    I've been teaching flower pounding for quite a few years and if you prepare the fabric with an alum solution before pounding then the colour will remain truer for longer and apparently it will wash.(although I've never tried that). The most interesting thing is that the colours quite often come up differently eg a red nicotiana will give a fantastc blue print. Its also a wonderful thing to do with children although make sure you use a rubber hammer/mallet to save fingers. Have fun.

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  6. oooh, off to find some flowers to bash! Brilliant!!
    xxx

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  7. Will look forward to seeing the results of growing the woad. It is something that I would like to try. I am impressed by the strong colours you achieved from the hammered flowers.

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  8. What a wonderful technique! I really must try that sometime. I should probably grow some plants in my rectangle of grass first though, eh?

    So glad you had a lovely day.

    x

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  9. I saw the Bayeux Tapestry about 35years ago and thought it fascinating. Thanks for the flower bashing instructions - I must try that, although I can hardly bear to bash perfect flowers. Natural dyes are so lovely - the glowing colours they give are really special. I have a friend who grows woad, madder and other plants for dyeing and have grown Dyers Chamomile myself.

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  10. I love the blue woad produces...lucky you to have some seeds. The flower pounding looks great fun...lovely result!

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  11. Its a lovely effect but it seems a bit...cruel.
    And I just can't help asking if
    it would work with small animals....

    (Thats a joke by the way..I'm sure you realise but you never know)

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  12. I must have a go at this (thanks for sharing) but will have to wait until there's something useable in the garden!

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  13. Beautiful card, your Mum must have been delighted.
    I shall be very interested to see how you get on with the Woad, it's something I've been meaning to try for a long time.
    The pounding technique looks a must :-)

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  14. Hope you take photos of the woad plants.

    LOVE the flower prints - clever idea! Do they fade? Wonder if they'd work on paper? Where's the hammer?

    Celia
    x

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  15. Will the woad be ready for Jersey next year so you can show us what Boadicia did with it? Now, THAT would make a fun class!!!!! Vera

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  16. Gosh, what a lovely idea for the flowers.

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  17. What a beautiful idea, not sure I could bring myself to smash some flowers, but I enjoyed seeing yours. Jane x

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  18. What a fabulous process! Also rather therapeutic I imagine. The results are fab. It rather reminds me of an Attic 24 crochet brooch, but with real flowers! Yummy.

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  19. I've heard about this flower bashing. It looks really effective. I must grow some flowers this year!!! Your Mother's Day card looks lovely.

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  20. The flower bashing worked beautifully - a great result and a good stress reliever!

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  21. WOWOWOW!!!! I had seen this on another blog somewhere, last year and hadn't quite believed it to be true, and then forgot about it .. It is amazing!! I am definitely going to try it out this year. What a fantastic thing! And I have a special floral hammer to do the banging with to. xx

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  22. wow Gina, that is amazing - am going to have to give that a go!

    xxx

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  23. Ooooooo, I really like the flower pounding idea. I'm gonna bookmark this blog entry so I can check back when I actually have some flowers. Thanks for sharing...Kathy

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  24. Wow! You know, I've never much cared for flower pounding, but then I've never seen it sewn around like you did -- that's soooo cool. You've made me a convert!

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  25. Your card looks so pretty...but I am definitely in the No Cruelty to Flowers group. I don't think I could enjoy pulverising them! I suspect this is going to limit me as an artist.

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  26. Poor pretty flowers...
    But bugger me don't they look good after they've been smashed?!

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  27. What a fantastic technique Gina! Love the flower hammering bit :) (fun)..

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  28. this is absolutely delightful - now if only i can remember where I saw it when it comes to doing it ...

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