Last summer I resolved to try and make further use of the plants that I grow by employing them as natural textile dyes. When their season was through, I did a few experiments, dying various fabric scraps with the burgundy leaves and immature blooms of the large false roselle plants I had grown that year. Unfortunately, time quickly slipped through my fingers and the other plans I had in mind did not come to fruition.
This winter I have made a dramatic shift back to embroidery and my brain is consumed with thread. Recently, in preparation for the growing season, I have returned to experimentation, but this time I am dyeing threads rather than fabric.
I needed a bookmark, so I made one. Random scraps of paper and bus transfers do the work of marking my place in a book, but they are not special. They just are.
I knew it had to be botanical, because… exhibit a thru z… and it was a pressed leaf that provided the inspiration. I often slip leaves into books only to discover them months or years later. This is why I always flip through the pages before I get rid of a book. They sometimes hold more secrets beyond the words that are written inside.
In this case it was a leaf from a tulip tree leaf (Liriodendron tulipifera) that I picked up on a walk last fall. The tulip tree is a North Eastern native that is gaining popularity around here. The leaves are simple and elegant and they turn a beautiful golden yellow in the fall. I find I want to take them all home.
I stitched my bookmark onto a piece of scrap cotton. It is 2″ X 6″ but I realize in hindsight that 8″ would have been a nicer length. The leaf was yellow when I put it into the book but had browned with age. I used variegated thread to represent this colour shift, but any solid colour will work, too.
I bought these bright and colourful botanical-themed embroidered panels in a little textiles shop near(ish) to the hotel we were put up in in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This shop was full of embroidered textiles, but I honed straight in on the old pieces in various stages of disrepair and ignored the new.
This one is practically neon! Look at the fantastical bird.