January 9, 2012

A Walk in the Park & Bella's Birthday

My daily routine at work is very simple, but enjoyable. The best part of my day is walking in the park full of natural native plants and trees. Seven years ago when I joined my work I was looking for plant materials for basket weaving. I looked for different kinds of plants then. Taking up eco-dyeing is a natural process for me. Working where I am on the campus with gardens and trees cannot be more perfect for eco-dyeing. I got to know most of the eucalyptus trees that are good for dyeing. Lately I dyed using windfall leaves. They give a better and more mature colour when dyeing. A walk in the park can't be more interesting when you have something to look for. 

This time of the year the eucalyptus trees are shredding their barks. Bark can be used in the dye pot as well. Look at the lovely fresh new skin underneath it and that exact colour will come out in the dye.

After a windy day, leaves fall and end up at the side of the walkway. Sometimes I scoop them up or choose leaves that look inviting. 

This particular tree is "Silver Mallee" (E.crucis). I know it gives excellent colour results. It's not very dense so I only collect the leaves from under it.

This giant eucalyptus tree shredded the bark completely all at once. I love the looks of bark spreading around the base of the tree leaving a clean smooth new skin. They look best after the rain. 

Some leaves gathered on the ground under the tree. I love these ones because they are still fresh and lie flat and are easier to pack them into silk bundle.

Here are some of the results from the walk in the park. The leaves are from the "Powdered Gum" (pulverulenta). It was one of the several eucalyptus trees in the park. The result would have been better if I left it longer before opening the bundle. It has been very hot and humid here lately and by leaving the bundles too long it causes the mould to grow on them. 

The above piece I used mixed leaves of "Powdered Gum" (E.pulverulenta) and "Blackbutt (E.pilularis). I like experimenting by mixing different leaves in one bundle. 

This heart shape was a single leaf from the top photo. I posted the image on my Facebook page and surprisingly got a lot of positive comments from my friends. Thanks guys. 

I just love this piece. I got  a branch from young shoots growing underneath the bush. It looks very much like "Round-Leaved Mallee (E.orbifolia). I hope I'm right from the photo in the book Eucalypts Vol.1 by Stan Kelly (1969). 

Never too young to start eco-dyeing! Here is my DGD opening her bundle that she dyed using rubber bands, seaweed and eucalyptus leaves sneaked in by her mom. Today is a special day for her. It's her 3rd Birthday Jan. 9th. She is 3 year old. Happy Birthday Bella. Hope you are having a lovely day. We love you very much...!



Isabella said...

Happy birthday, beautiful little lady!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Ms. Bella. I too have a little one that likes to hang out in the thick of the threads. You look like a lady of a strong mind who knows what she's doing with a bundle.

and I see you get your shirtless eco dyeing technique from your grandma! ;)

Have a wonderful third birthday dear girl. It goes all too quickly.

Needled Mom said...

Those colors really are marvelous and the dye results are just stunning. You have such a wonderful eye for the natural colors.

Happy third birthday Bella. It appears that she has inherited her grandmother's talents.

taiqi said...

I sure wish we had eucalyptus trees here--too cold. Beautiful cloth--I especially like the heart shaped leave print.
I miss seeing you, old friend. I wish we weren't so far away. Janet Wright, San Juan Island Wa USA

Els said...

Ha, Nat, you are só lucky to live inside this "eco - dyeing area" (envie your colours)

Michele Pacey said...

A very happy birthday to your sweet Bella. What a doll!

Jeannie said...

Happy Birthday Bella! Wishing you a very special day and may all your dreams come true. Nat, you DGD is adorable and the fabrics are gorgeous. Wishing you a beautiful day.

aracne said...

Great results, I love the colours that you get from eucalyptus and the shades of red and yellow.
How sweet is your Bella.

Willow said...

I also love the heart one. Happy Birthday to Bella. She is one lucky little girl to have a Grandmother so talented as you.

Nancy said...

Happy Birthday to Miss Bella. Beautiful cloth :)

Kathie said...

oh happy birthday , oh 3 is such a fun age!
Love that heart fabric , hope you make something special with it.
I love that you picked things up during a walk that inspired you and used them to make great designs...
its going to be interesting seeing you use this in a project

Anonymous said...

what a perfect name for a beautiful child - Happy Birthday, Bella. We don't get those beautiful colours from the eucalyptus that grow here - they are such a dissappointment. Fantastic colours, I'm so envious.

Jacky said...

Happy birthday to Bella...how wonderful that she is already eco-dyeing! You will have her stitching soon.
Beautiful dyeing Nat, and I love that you are taking note of the name of each tree (I'm too slack to do that!!!). Those lighter, silver leaved gums give off much more colour dont they? They are my favourite for dyeing.
Thanks for sharing all of your results and I look forward to our eco-dyeing workshop coming up soon.

Jacky xox

kaiteM said...

i hope Bella had a wonderful birthday, she looks very absorbed there.
Your dyeing looks very good, love the two colour heart.

Kim said...

what a sweet picture of the birthday girl.

I hope you get many years of teaching her all you know about fabrics and sewing.

Happy Sewing Grandma :0)

woman with wings said...

Happy Birthday, Bella! What a darling photo -- she's her nana's girl, all right!

Nat, when you do bundles like these, what kind of cloth are you using? Do you always pre mordant? Or does it vary? Your outcomes are so vivid. The heart is a perfect symbol for you! xo

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Nat. Beautiful eco-dying. The heart is very distinctive and subtle. lovely! Glad to see you're starting them young!
best, nadia

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