Botanical Printing

Botanical-printing (also called eco-printing) is a form of natural dyeing where pigments, tannins, and acids naturally occurring in leaves and other plant materials are imprinted onto fabric, paper, and other mediums. Textiles are tightly bundled with plants and steamed to create one-of-a-kind prints. Some fabrics are dyed first with natural dyes, which can come from leaves, flowers, roots, bark, and even insects. Keep scrolling for more detailed process photos.

About Mattie

Ever since childhood I’ve loved to work and create with my hands.  I’ve always been fascinated by nature, and my favorite color is all of them!  I use textiles to showcase the beauty of nature by combining natural dyes and low-impact synthetic dyes with prints from locally foraged leaves and plants.  Just as each leaf on a tree is unique, so is every print and I enjoy exploring the full potential of each plant I choose to use.  As a life-long sewer, I find textiles to be an intimate medium that invites us to develop a personal relationship with the items we wear and use.

Photo by Aja McCullough Beers

Environmental Factor

Despite the term “eco-printing”, most printers do use materials, chemicals, and processes which aren’t completely “clean”. While I do use chemical mordants and plastic sheeting, I do my best to reuse and choose sustainable practices whenever possible. I am always looking for new ways to improve. I source most of my dyes from ethically farmed sources; the rest come from my garden or kitchen scraps. I frequently dye items in batches to reduce the amount of dye being used, and later going down the drain. My wool felt earrings and ornaments give use to industrial scraps that would otherwise be thrown away, and my process materials (cotton fabrics and plastic sheets) are used over and over to get the most out of fewer materials. Many process fabrics are reused items such as old tablecloths or bedsheets. With the exception of eucalyptus, which comes from a local florist, all of the plants I use for printing are sustainably gathered by hand in and around Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A few photos of the botanical printing process…