the origins of 'ecoprint'
(in India Flint's backyard)
Over a quarter of a century ago, during my third (and last!) pregnancy, I discovered by chance, and with kind assistance from a broody hen, that eucalyptus leaves could make a contact print on eggshells.
I already knew (thanks to the book "Dyemaking with Eucalypts" by the late Jean Carman) that eucalyptus leaves could yield extraordinary colours when boiled in water, and I had for some time been experimenting with natural dyes, combining the Latvian method of egg dyeing with cloth by bundling onionskins, kitchen herbs and textiles together.
By the grace of the broody hen, whose eggs had been laid in a rain-dampened nest of sun-toasted eucalyptus windfalls, and bore evidence of leaf prints after three days warmed by her body in that damp environment; I decided to bundle eucalyptus leaves in silk cloth, and discovered pure magic...washfast leaf prints of incredible detail, no mordant required. Several people advised me to immediately patent the process. Instead I chose to validate it through a post-graduate research degree (MA.VA awarded 2001) and share it with the whirled.
I just wish I had thought of a more romantic name...as I did for
HAPAZOME :: the name I gave to the process of beating fresh leaf matter into cloth, after four days of doing exactly that, on the floor of the Green Room at the Yamaguchi Centre for Performing Arts in 2006, creating a 6 x 6 metre floorcloth that was to "resemble a forest floor" for the production 'Wanderlust' by Leigh Warren + Dancers in collaboration with the late and marvellous dancer/choreographer UnoMan. Hilariously, this "kitchen-Japanese" is now regularly cited by academics as in "the ancient Japanese technique of Hapazome". Which it is not…
:: in 2012 I learned that the method of beating leaves into cloth is actually called ‘Tataki zomé’ in Japan…but by then then name Hapazome had developed its own momentum.