Another important early innovator in the contemporary movement of sustainable and ethical fashion is India Flint.
India is an Adelaide artist, living on a property in the Adelaide hills. While a friend and I were sharing a studio at the JamFactory in the mid 2000’s, India held an exhibition in the main gallery space. The fragrance of her scattered lemon-scented gum leaves greeted us each day as we entered the building.
Although dyeing with eucalyptus leaves had been done before, India discovered and innovated a technique to transfer the dye and shape of leaves onto silk and wool fabric. Her experimentation with every type of eucalypt available during her Masters Degree at the University of South Australia, expanded to include wild flowers and found objects such as rusty nails for mark making.
India is respectful of hand made techniques such as hand stitching with the thread in a colour and thickness of yarn that contrasted with the finished fabric. She used up-cycled clothing and fabrics as a base to decorate and make new clothing. She ignored minimalist approaches to fashion popular at the time, instead embracing layering and allowing the fabric to dictate the silhouettes.
Her unorthodox approach to the fabric itself, allowing the material to keep the wrinkles and creases from the dye process, created a three dimensional effect. This added extra texture to the fabric, which was already uneven in colour and pattern due to the natural dye process.
India has spent subsequent years to date touring the world teaching workshops and showing her beautiful work in galleries. Many textile artists and designers have been influenced by her work, including myself, and I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate her influence on the future of fashion and textiles.
India Flint website, including images, workshops, exhibitions, books and contact details.
Most eucalyptus leaves will yield a range of golden-brown to red-brown colours without using any additional mordant. As mentioned in a previous article, the colours are fast in protein fibres such as wool and silk. To extend the colour range, different mordants in the form of additives or containers, or both, can be used.
To begin simmer dyeing, first collect the following containers from Op shops or second-hand stores (DON’T use dye containers for cooking): Enamel/enamel coated or stainless steel, tin and cast iron. I use a cast iron saucepan by Michael Lax for Copco (NOT enamel coated). The range is no longer produced but sometimes comes up for sale at second-hand or antique stores or on Ebay. Continue reading Dyeing with eucalyptus leaves Part 3
These are the last two fold and stitch fabrics for the Continuity shrine.
The silk organza was folded multiple times and pressed into a square, stitched along the folds to secure, then dip dyed on the edges only. When dry, the fabric was opened up to less layers. Circles were stitched in the centre of the squares, pulled in tightly, bound with cord for extra resist and carefully dip dyed. Continue reading More patterns