Natural Bundle Dyeing
by Rosemary MacLennan
Throughout history, from Prehistoric cave paintings to Renaissance artists (who would mix ground pigments with egg yolk or white to create different types of paint such as tempera and glair), natural materials have been used to create images.
More recently, artists have used natural materials to create paint. Yelena Popova, uses soil and wood ash.
Using food means that you can experiment with materials that you have at home!
Add a small amount of hot water to any of the foods that you have to create your ‘paint’. You don’t need very much water and you don’t need very much of the food.
You are aiming to get as much colour from the food without too much water, so when using tea, try two tea bags and just cover them with water- you aren’t making a cup of tea! Below are examples of the quantities that I used.
To use onion skins, you will need to use the hob to heat the skins in a little bit of water. I used the peel from 1 onion.
Heat them on a medium heat for about 7 minutes. Make sure the water just covers the skins and that you don’t leave the pan as the skins will burn.
Once you have created your pigments, try them out to see what shades you can achieve. You can vary the shades by adding more or less water.
The colours will evolve as they dry, so make sure you note down what food you have used to make the colour.
Now you have your ‘paints’, on to creating your design!
We are going to use the pigments that we create from food to make a Constructivist-inspired art work. Constructivist artists include; El Lissitzky and László Moholy-Nagy. The movement started in 1912 in Russia, and the artists involved focused on art and architecture.
Draw a circle on your piece of paper. I have used a jar lid, but you could use a compass or a small plate. The circle size doesn’t matter, as long as it isn’t too small.
Next, make random marks with a pencil. You are going to connect these with your ruler or straight edge in the next stage.
Now connect your dots together using the ruler. The aim is to connect the dots, so that you have shapes to which you will apply your ‘paint’.
Once you have created your shapes, you can start to apply colour, using your ‘paints’ and a brush.
Make sure that you keep the different colours away from each other, so that you don’t end up with large areas of the same colour.
Now you can try experimenting with different ways to use your ‘paints’ and submit your outcomes below!
Thank you for taking part in the Nottingham Trent University Art&Design Saturday Club Workshop.
Contributed by Rosemary MacLennan, Nottingham Trent University Art&Design Saturday Club
Rosemary MacLennan is the Co-ordinator and Lead Tutor of the Saturday Art Club in the College of Art Architecture Design and Humanities. Rosemary took over as the coordinator and tutor of Saturday Art Club in 2015. During this time, she has worked with Arts Council Collection, Yorkshire Sculpture International and a network of over fifty universities and arts organisations. In September 2019, Rosemary delivered a talk at the V&A to the Saturday Club tutor network on Engaging young people.