Is your head spinning yet trying to figure out all the ways to Eco Print? Well, let me introduce another amazing player to this fantastic magical game; Myrobalan.
Where does it come from?
This mystery powder is made from the ground nuts of the Terminalia chebula tree. It also goes by the name of Harde Powder. It is believed to have some interesting healing properties in traditional Indian medicine. For that reason it did not scare me as many of the other ‘chemicals’ do. ‘And it was easy & inexpensive for me to order it from a local health food supplier.
What does it do?
This unique matter is both a tannin and a mordant. It will dye fibres a nice buttery yellow (20-30% WOF) and provide good mordant for the hard to dye cotton fibre if used before alum at 15-20% WOF). Since it gives a nice warm yellow it can also be combined with indigo to further add tones of teal.
Since I am a hands-on person I tend to learn more by experimenting & doing than by reading. I put it through a few tests and observed what it can do. It is interesting how many different outcomes I had.
Achieving colours in the world of eco printing can be a bit of a challenge depending what species of leaves that you can find or what other natural dyes you add to the mix. Myrobalan loves iron! Whenever it has any way of the two coming together it creates a nice purplish grey. The depth does depend on the strength of both the Myrobalan and the iron, as usual. I much prefer it to the some of the dirty types of browns that some tannins create with the saddening of iron.
These are examples of a few media including paper and Rayon. It’s use is not even restricted to the usual rolled bundles of Eco Printing. (watch for future detailed posts) I can also see how stable some dyes are by how much they stain my hands and also my plastic sink; wow did I need to clean!
It is so amazing to see the reaction take place! A cooled tea made of the Harde Powder (myrobalan) has some drops of a weak iron solution (iron sulfate + water) added and immediately the dark greys appear! That is how I do test some of the strength as well. Is there a definite rule? No way…
Some of the favourite dependable printing leaves, iron blanket and a pre-dye of Myrobalan. I bet I know what you are thinking; so what are the recipe amounts? It depends on a few things? What ‘look’ are after? Do you want subtle tones/low contrast? Or do you want very dark background?
Not sure what way you would like? So many ways to use it in combination everything else. Oh, come on; just throw caution to the wind and let it surprise you. Is this not art?!
Using the tea (strong to weak) before printing will create a more ‘resist’ stencil type look (top) if using an iron blanket (bottom) or switch it all around backwards (middle) and get a very different detailed effect. (posts coming soon)
This cotton canvas is pretty heavy weight so the textures are much more pronounced since the thickness of the fibres comes into play. The ferns tend to not have much tannins to print on their own but work well with the Myrobalan for intricacy of shapes.
So grab yourself some and maybe it can even come in handy for whatever ails you… Happy Printing (watch for future detailed posts)