AN IDEA IS BORN
Artisan textile artist Daniella Brockelsby specialises in producing hand-made, hand-dyed fabrics from her Westcountry home. Her beautiful textile prints are produced with sustainable, organic and non-toxic materials, and tap into the beauty of the local plants we see every day and often take for granted.
Artisan Daniella Brockelsby hand-dyes textiles with natural dyes, using contact dyeing methods – transferring colour direct from the leaf to the fabric.
Her lovely eco-printed products are created by layering prepared fabrics or paper with local plants and flowers. The cloth and leaves are bundled together, tightly bound and steamed, creating a permanent transfer of pigment from the leaves to the cloth.
No external dyes,inks or paints are used in eco-printing. All colours and patterns come from the plants themselves.
Daniella works primarily with silk because of the textures, sheen, warmth and the strength of it. She also uses a lot of fine merino fibre – soft, warm, and very beautiful, especially when felted into silk gauze.
Among her favourite leaves to use for eco-printing are roses, geraniums, sycamore, maple and eucalyptus, which all produce gorgeous colour and beautiful prints. She also grows her own dye plants at home in the garden.
Daniella likes to use natural, sustainable resources from as close to home as possible, trying to keep her impact on the environment to a minimum.
Much of her stock consists of eco-printed silk scarves, but she also dyes fabric, turning it into one-off dresses, as well as re-dyeing pre-loved clothing.
She makes silk and merino felted scarves, shawls and wraps, using lovely local fibres and often incorporates plant-dyed bamboo, spaghetti and mulberry silk and mohair to create luscious texture.
Eco-printing, a technique pioneered and developed by Australian textile artist India Flint, is a really exciting way of dyeing textiles or paper, and it’s particularly fabulous on silk. After washing and preparing the fabric to accept the natural dyes, a selection of leaves is laid out on the fabric, which is then bundled tightly around a piece of dowelling, tied firmly with string and simmered or steamed. This process extracts the pigment from the plant material, leaving beautiful marks on the fabric.
Depending on the colour effect desired the printed fabric can then be dipped in a solution of rusty water and vinegar, or a weak solution of washing soda. The same method can be used to colour silk chiffon before felting merino fibre into the fabric to make shawls or wraps. The results can be incredibly delicate and detailed, or really bold and beautiful.