Dyeing techniques that use plants, seeds, leaves, nuts, and a hammer!

Posted May 9th, 2014 by Mimi

There are lots of heirloom dyeing techniques that use seeds, foliage, spices and flowers to impart colour to fabric.

I'm going to try them all, but this one caught my eye first.

Hapa Zome is a dyeing technique that uses a hammer to embed the colours and outline of foliage, flowers or other natural items, into fabric fibres. The Japanese have been doing it for centuries but a clever artist named India Flint has brought it in to the spotlight again.

I saw this a few days ago, and have been dying to give it a try. No pun intended.

So with Mothers Day in two days and a mother-in-law who is notoriously difficult to buy for, I thought now was the time.

It's really easy and fun, and I'm embellishing a length of silky fabric I snaffled from the remnant bin at Spotlight with this technique. I don't think it's colour fast, so I can't make it into a scarf, unless I tell mother-in-law not to wash it! But I can make it into a table runner or wall hanging, so that's what I'll do. I'll be checking the colour fastness though, and I'll let you know for sure.

The technicque is simply to pick a variety of foliage and flowers, lay them on your fabric, and then either cover and encase with the same fabric, or cover with something like a teatowel. Then bash away on a smooth surface until the flowers and foliage release their colour and outline into the fabric. Note that you need to do this on a smooth surface because any texture will also be imparted.

I used an oleander flower, some hydrangea petals, an olive sprig, a rosebush sprig, and some multi coloured rose petals from some roses that my husband bought for me yesterday (lucky me!). Foliage and flowers with a high moisture content work best.

I really love the effect and I'll be adding more colour and shapes to it today before converting it to a gift.

I'll be back to show you the finished result.

Anyone can do this and it's one the kids will love!

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