Friday, September 17, 2010

Hapa-Zome--Beating Color Into Cloth


The intense summer heat was not kind to my flowers, but with the recent storms, my yard is filled with color again. 

WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU . . .

. . . take a rubber mallet

and bright colorful flowers to the fiber studio?

YOU GET


THIS . . .

and


THIS.

The result will be marks on your fabric.  Hapa-Zome is a Japanese word that literally means "leaf dye."  This process is a natural way to add color onto your fabrics using the flowers and plants in your garden.

THIS IS HOW I DID IT

I placed a plastic trash bag onto my vinyl flooring in the kitchen.  On top of that bag, I placed an old towel, then another plastic bag.

Next, I placed a 12" x 12" PFD white cotton fabric onto the bag, randomly added my flowers, placed another plastic bag over the flowers and beat the flowers with the rubber mallet.  

This technique is not an exact science, and the results will vary depending on the amount of pressure you use and how many times you beat the flower.  Sometimes I beat the flower to a pulp, and at other times, the flower was still in one piece and easy to lift off of the fabric.  This technique will definitely take some practice to master, and oh, what fun I will have figuring things out . . .


India Flint discusses Hapa-Zome on page 165 of her book Eco Colour--botanical dyes for beautiful textiles.  This is the book I'm currently reading as I continue my studies into natural dyes.  India states that the Hapa-Zome technique is not a permanent printing method and will result in color that lasts for only two years or so.

In her introductory statement, India states that this book "should equip readers with the skills and information to extract dyes from a range of natural sources, make decisions as to the appropriate methods to apply to specific situations, analyse substances for their potential as mordants and apply a range of print dye techniques."  I especially liked this sentence:  Readers "will also be able to implement safe work practice in the home and studio," which is the main reason for my interest in studying natural dyes and India's book.

If you're interested in learning how to color your fabrics using natural dyes, this book is a must read.

Go get your mallet and find something colorful to beat  . . . Have a fun and safe weekend.

6 comments:

Jacq said...

Your flower beating looks wonderful and fun to do. Thanks for the tip on the book.

WoolenSails said...

That came out beautifully. I tried it this summer with some flowers. Some came out nice, others just mushed, but it is fun to do. Great way to take out frustrations too;)

Debbie

Michelle said...

I have seen this done with leaves too :0) bet you had fun whacking that mallet lol!

Thanks for sharing x

Linda Moran said...

Very nice!!! I'm going to look into the book recommendation.

Vicki W said...

What great results!

Sue Bleiweiss said...

you got wonderful results Fannie. I've had my eye on this book, thanks for posting your review. I think I'll have to add it to my collection now.