India Flint – Eucalyptus Ecoprinting

I bought a pair jeans recently that I can safely say we’re dyed using industrial strength chemicals, some of which are considered poisonous, hormone disruptive and carcinogenic. So I want to travel down a lesser known road of makers today into the world of ecoprinting (an ecologically sustainable contact print that transfers leaf dyes to cloth, clay, wood, stone or paper ;  now widely adopted by makers in almost every country”. Welcome to the “whirled” as she calls it, of India Flint.

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Destiny seems to have led this woman to begin printing leaves and other organic materials onto textiles. As a child she watched and learned from both her mother and maternal grandmother about the wonders of stitching, knitting and embroidery. She recalls her grandmother soaking pieces of clothing in various combinations of tea leaves, onion skins and calendulas (marigolds) to enrich their faded colours, maybe as much for practicality as artistic motive. She remembers her own chance discovery of felting when she happened to rub collected clumps of wool from her family’s grazing sheep on the barbed wire that fenced their property. Much later, living on her own farm in South Australia she might’ve had a deja vu moment when she looked into the nest of one of her broody hens and noticed a leaf image had been transferred onto one of the eggs there…

“By the grace of the broody hen, whose eggs had been laid in a rain-dampened nest of sun-toasted eucalyptus windfalls, and bore evidence of leaf prints after three days warmed by her body in that damp environment;  I decided to bundle eucalyptus leaves in silk cloth, and discovered pure magic…washfast leaf prints of incredible detail, no mordant required (in case you’re wondering as I was, a mordant is a substance added to a dye that fixes the dye to the fabric).7SyCyCLlTG620ToG8MwDvQ

Now a mother and grandmother, India describes herself as a botanical alchemist, dreamer, writer + author of the eucalyptus ecoprint, dyeing for a living in the Great Southland :: and on the nomad trail. She coined the word hapazome which she gave to “the process of beating fresh leaf matter into cloth, after four days of doing exactly that, on the floor of the Green Room at the Yamaguchi Centre for Performing Arts in 2006, creating a 6 x 6 metre floorcloth that was to “resemble a forest floor” for the production ‘Wanderlust’ by Leigh Warren + Dancers in collaboration with the late and marvellous dancer/choreographer UnoMan. And she adds – Hilariously, this “kitchen-Japanese” is now regularly cited by academics as in “the ancient Japanese technique of Hapazome. Which it is not.”

Flint shares her knowledge about ecoprinting by researching and lecturing at the South Australian School of Art. She offers workshops and writes books on textile dyeing and when she’s not doing all that she finds time to play tenor saxophone and of course run her farm which happens to be the source for most of the plants and materials she uses for printing. Now, feast your eyes on the luscious hues, textures and designs of her stunning work…

P.S. I highly recommend following her on instagram  @prophet_of_bloom. Her images and words are magic.TheShibusaWay

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silkshawl

An example of India's work

 

 

 

 

 

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