With all the flowers around, Spring and Summer are a great time of year to indulge in some Hapa zome. Hapa what? You ask.
Hapa zome. The term meaning “leaf dye” is a Japanese printmaking technique invented by artist India Flint using pigments in leaves, flower to produce lovely detailed prints.
In Japan this technique is actually known as Tataki Zome but India’s name has taken off and most refer to it as Hapa Zome now.
It basically involves selecting a basket of interesting bright flowers, leaves or berries and using a hammer (a wooden mallet works best if you have one) to hammer this selection onto fabric. You can use cotton or linen and silk is particularly effective.
So the colours from the plant material last longer and bind better we recommend mordanting the fabric either using alum or milk (instructions below).
Wash your fabric in the washing machine and let it dry naturally, soak the fabric for 24 hours in milk, spin off the milk in the washing machine and let dry naturally, place the fabric back into the milk and repeat this process around three times. Then leave the dried fabric for 3 days before using for optimum effect.
Place your fabric on a hard surface and arrange your flowers, leaves and berries as you wish.
You can hammer directly onto the flowers themselves but I like to fold material over the top in order to get a mirror print.
Whilst the idea with this technique is to experiment which we always encourage. We have had good results with some of the following so you could start there: Rose Petals, Eucalyptus leaves, foxgloves, marigolds, geraniums, common catsear, dandelions, nettles.
Tag us @bedstrawandmadder with any of your creations.