I have been teaching basic screen printing skills this week. Nothing too complicated, just simple screens and Procion Dyes. At the end of a long day I had a few pots of dye left over and I decided to paint them onto a piece of cotton.
We had been using discharge paste as an alternative print medium and a small amount remained in a pot. As I waited for things to dry I wondered if it would be possible to print directly from plants. No time like the present! I nipped into the garden and gathered a handful of interesting vegetation; spindly goose grass, fragrant mint, bracken laden with spores and feathery anemone leaves.
After patting the leaves dry on absorbent paper, I brushed them with a light coating of discharge paste before pressing them gently on the cloth. For me, the joy of working with discharge paste is that you are never quite certain of the result: there is always an element of serendipity as to how much the base cloth will be bleached by its application.
I'm pleased with the results. The purple worked best, the green was a bit too subtle, whist the blue colour discharged to a dark purple shadow. A light touch of both paste and printing pressure was all that was required and I think with a little practise it would be possible to reveal more of the leaf structure in these prints. Not bad for an idle after-thought!