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Artist Sally Crawford shares a fun printing method.

Eco or botanical printing is a gentle-to-the-earth contact printing method that coaxes out pigments from plants to make interesting and often surprising colours, textures and patterns on a substrate…fabric, leather, wood or, in my case, paper). The resulting print can be further enhanced in any creative way the artist fancies. Besides plants, the process includes heat, moisture, various ’fixatives’ …bulk store alum, rusty nails, soy, or old pennies. The art form ticks many of my creative boxes…gardening, interpreting the world around me on paper and book binding. It provides endless opportunities for the serendipity.


The plants I incorporate in my pieces come from my garden or are “wildcrafted” during jaunts in the natural world. They themselves provide the most pleasure…what colours or textures will they yield? Does it make a difference when they are gathered…what season, time of day? Fresh or dried? Which variety of the plant? The whole plant or just parts?


I can also satisfy my bent for kitchen science experimentation too…what will be the result if I alter pH? Change the fixative? Alter the time steamed or boiled?


The eco printed papers can be used in a variety of ways…stand alone art, embellished pieces, cards or gift wrap. My favourite is to assemble them into small hand bound books (years ago I did a lot of bookbinding and book repair). I call them my ‘Marking Matters’ Journals to use for sketching, painting, journaling, doodling or to delight in the interesting prints and textures as a unique work of art.






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