Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nature Prints (without going outside)

How can you make nature prints without going outside?  I'll tell you.  I'll try not to be too long-winded.

I guess these are technically called EcoPrints, and I've admired what others are doing for a long time.  I have India Flint's book Eco Colour, I've read blog posts by her students, I've admired photos.  I knew for a fact, though, that as much as I liked the results I was seeing, there were too many obstacles for me to do that.  It took too many ingredients that I don't have.  It took days to see the results.  I don't do well with waiting that long.  Most of what they were doing was on fabric (although I'm happy to see more on paper lately).  The results are very detailed and vibrant with all the right ingredients though.

On my backburner list of things to do, I wanted to try these techniques on paper.  I wanted it to be quick.  I even bought a recent issue of Pages magazine, which had an article on Boiled Books.  It looked like we were closing in on something more my speed.

Then I was catching up on some blog reading and saw what Diana Trout has been doing.  Rather than go into detail, go to her blog and look at some of the posts from August and September.  I especially found the guest post there helpful by Jeanne Handley McLaughlin.

Still, though, having found this faster method, I knew I had to work this weekend and didn't have time to start something like this.  But my mind was going gangbusters, wanting to try it.  And that's how I ended up tossing and turning in bed, until I finally got up and did the quickest, most improvised eco printing ever.

I had some ATC-sized lucite pieces, and decided to use those for my outer pieces to hold everything in place.  That would be a pretty small accordian book, but hey, this was a quickie project!  I tore some paper into a long stip (I think it might be Artistico, hot press).  For leaves, I dug around in the back of my bathroom cabinet under the sink and found some old (and I do mean old) bags of potpourri.  I picked out some of the smallest and darkest leaves.  I sprayed my paper with the suggested mix of half water and half vinegar.  I laid leaves on the paper, folding the accordion as I went and holding it in place.  Then I clamped the paper together with the lucite on the outside.

I didn't have a bamboo steamer or a roaster, and wondered if I could just pour boiling water into a coffee can and put the paper inside (the ATC size, by the way, was a perfect fit for the coffee can!) But then I realized that I didn't want to wait for water to boil, plus I didn't want the paper IN the water.  Knowing I really needed to get to sleep if I didn't want to be late for work the next day, I ran the hottest tap water I could get, filled up the coffee can to get it hot, then poured out most of the water, leaving enough steamy water in the bottom, set the clamped paper inside on its "legs" and put on the lid. 
I'm sure the water cooled pretty quickly, and it probably wasn't too steamy in there for long.  But imagine my surprise to find this as the result this morning.  Not too bad for such a quickie and improvised project.
This is the back side, where I meant to add rusted steel wool.  Only when I was trying to pick up rusted bits with my gloved fingers did I realize I was using an old soap pad which apparently still had some clumpy soap in it.  I ended up with clumps on my paper.  Lesson learned for next time.
I can't wait to do more when I get a chance.  I already have some larger size paper torn and a larger coffee can.  And I'll be on the lookout for a steamer at the thrift shop!  The paper does have the odor of the potpourri.  Not sure if that is a plus or a minus at this point.  I thought it was nice having that bit of scent to it, but after living with it for a day, I can't seem to get away from the smell.  But it served its purpose, without me having to wander the yard at 11 pm looking for leaves!


Diana Trout {} said...

You are surely inventive. I love this! I think the potpourri was brilliant on a very tight time budget that you had. and I'm smiling away here. I'd like to address this very issue of "time" in a post. Thanks for the incentive!

QueenPam said...

Very pretty results Pat.

Pat said...

Thanks, Pam and Diana.

Jeanne said...

great results from your impromptu method... everyone does it a little big differently!!

jeanne mclaughlin