In order to be able to get colors from plants
It is important to understand that you will need to prepare your fabrics or any other natural surface you want to print on. The preparation process is called Mordant and this mordant is the first layer we will need to add to the surface. It is a crucial process and without the mordant almost nothing will be shown on the fabric.
The word “mordant” comes from an old version of the word “bite” in French. The mordant is the layer that allows all the organic substances coming from the plants to be “bitten” and held by the surface. We can think of the mordant in these terms: it is like when a soil needs to be prepared and fertilized before planting. The mordant is the layer that will bond the fabric to the plants we want to print. The mordant is also vital for improving the resistance of the colors to the effects of light and washing.
Some mordant solutions contain metals along with other additives. Some others combine metals with tannins extracted directly from plants. The kind of metal used in the mordant will influence the results in terms of the colors that can be achieved. There are different metals such as iron, aluminum, copper, tin, titanium, etc… Each metal will react its own way with the plants and will give different colors. The most common metals used for mordants are aluminum and iron. Aluminum is responsible for getting bright colors from the plants and iron will help to get darker colors.
There are ways to produce home made metals. For example, to make an iron mordant, you can soak rusty nails in a mix of water and vinegar or you can use metal salts such as Ferrous sulfate.
The process of preparing natural surfaces in the mordant contains a few steps. You don’t need expensive materials that are difficult to find…. no matter where you live, you can find materials for mordants easily. Once you have prepared the mordant, you have to dip the fabrics and immerse them properly in the solution. Finally, you have to fix the mordant to the fabric. This important process will allow you to get sharp and define prints and will influence the entire work and the next steps.
In my online- video course “The Full Palette” I’m teaching a powerful mordanting method and you will also see how the mordanting stage can become an active part in the creative process. In addition, this course will also give you all the skills you need to master Botanical Printing and the tools for evolving and expanding your printing abilities in a way you can use any kinds of plants that will yield endless colors and shapes. Also, to get control and to be able to choose the desired results as regards colors, to create backgrounds in many colors by extracting dyes from local plants and finally, to use different bundling techniques for creating different styles.
Beware… Botanical Printing can be highly addictive!