Tag Archives: natutal dyeing of silk

Workshop travels and Ecoprinting on Leather

On the road again!

On the road again 🙂

My workshops usually involve travel. My most recent was  teaching participants how to ecoprint on leather and paper and creating leather journals from our efforts :-). My car was packed and it looked like I was moving!  Air travel was impractical and the drive meant I could stop over with neglected relatives enroute.
But there’s a good reason people go to Florida during the winter 🙂 I’m back now from a 2 week jaunt down there (and Georgia) and  I made time to actually turn it into a working vacation! Anyone who is a self employed artist knows how hard that can be!

I have taught workshops for a long time. You can’t be a painting artist and not share tips and techniques with big and small workshops.

Theresa teaching a “Paint your Dog” class at Jerrysartarama workshop space

So when the opportunity came from my friend, Suzanne Connors, to teach my ecoprinting techniques on leather and watercolor paper at her Aya Fiber Studio in Stuart, FL, I said “sure!” I chose leather and paper because once the techniques were mastered, my students would have the skills to create beautiful art journals for friends or for sale.

Not all workshops have such exotic locations! In this case, Florida’s weather was a far cry from what was happening in NC.

Views from the Aya Fiber studio

The 4 day workshop kept us busy! My students learned about the leathers that worked best for my technique, the papers that worked, leather tools, end products and created some amazing journals.

Students at their tables
A full hide on the worktable

Not all workshops end with finished products. But I felt it was important that they have finished pieces to refer to when back home in their own work spaces.


Ecoprinting on leather
Ecoprinting on different leathers
practice books
A finished leather and watercolor paper art journal
A finished leather and watercolor paper art journal

examples of additional leather techniques
leather journal

Additional techniques added a WOW factor to the leather and everyone had gorgeous results!


sheets of watercolor paper









Workshops do not have to be held in inspiring places. I’ve been in dusty expo buildings, recreation halls and similar places. My North Carolina studios are in the country and I share them with my artist hubby, Stephen Filarsky. It offers a different ambience-just as inspiring-but in a totally different environment in the country!

Below is a busy workshop I held in an Expo building in Michigan. My participants were just as enthusiastic!

Workshop in livestock building in Michigan

Below is the art studio transformed into a workshop space for my participants (we also hold painting workshops in here of course)

Workshop in my art studio
My workshop studio


May roses at our studio!

April and May are the time the heirloom “rescued roses” bloom at our location!

Our alpacas

A few alpacas provide not only fiber but entertainment for little ones who often mistake them for camels lol!

As long as people wish to learn new skills and techniques and involve themselves in the beauty of art, there will always be classes and workshops :-). Embracing the unknown in the arts broadens the mind and fills that creative space in your soul that just waits for some kind of inspiration!

And as a bonus to my teaching trip to FL we took a sunset cruise recommended by the studio. I missed the manatee that swam up to the studio docks but not on the hour long cruise! I had never seen one before!

Manatee and baby

So I am off to unload my car, (which looks like I moved half of my studio!) but adding

The Golden Hour

a parting image of what is called “The Golden Hour” on the water. We were able to enjoy it from the quiet puttering of the electric boat (and also why we could silently come close to the manatees)

Until next time!-Theresa




The “No Serial Number” magazine story

It’s always fun to find yourself in an International magazine! And especially so when that magazine is the up and coming “Green” magazine, “No Serial Number” an “an eclectic lifestyle magazine about Eco-conscious and Heritage Craft, Design and Fashion.”    The purpose of the publication aligns itself beautifully with my ecoprinted collections and it is a joy to see this publication embrace all that is sustainable, renewable and beautiful!

Cover Photo No Serial Number


So what about my article? Well, I had the best time writing it and pulling together my images. 6 whole pages! But for a sneak preview  you can see a bit of it here!

Page 1







Botanical or ecoprinting appeals to the simpler side of people-the surround sound of being in the woods, gathering plant matter and watching it come to as an art form is my passion. But many collectors simply enjoy the finished pieces. Whether for home or office, there is something peaceful and beautiful in knowing the ecoprinted art has given us a lasting piece of Nature’s designs and colors!

It was my pleasure to have “No Serial Number” echo my thoughts and feelings by publishing my work and photos!

page 4

So what did I do with those leaves and berries for my silk?

We were so busy getting ready for the annual Village of yesteryear at the North Carolina State Fair that I only had one shot at a batch of eco-dyed scarves! Looking over instructions from a brief workshop, I gathered my supplies and set to work!

Home grown red clay
Home grown red clay

The dried red clay I dug out  of a nearby bank had been stored in a pickle jar.  The leaves and berries were in a plastic tub, ready for use.  Following instructions, I washed a batch of silk scarves in an alum solution for a long while. When done, I began what became an all afternoon process of laying out the scarves, applying the leaves, bundling them and boiling the bundles then leaving to “process” for several days.

My outdoor picnic table worked just fine. I had the sense to photograph each laid out scarf so I would know what worked and what did not.  It is very much a trial and error process but that is what makes it so fun!



Eventually after several days, I opened the bundles and it is very much like opening a gift-no idea what to expect! I was pleasantly surprised at my efforts. The scarves were soft, subtle and beautifully patterned. Some were not as gorgeous as others (I discovered that was indeed however in the eye of the beholder!) and some took the various natural products well!

Stirring the Soup
Stirring the Soup


Rolling the leaves between plastic wrap on silk.
Rolling the leaves between plastic wrap on silk.





Wrapped bundles of silk processing.
Wrapped bundles of silk processing.







Drying on the clothes rack
Drying on the clothes rack
Leaf imprint
Leaf imprint
IMprinted ferns
Imprinted fern leaves from my property

So the results were a it at my recent 11 day show and I cannot wait to use the leaves I am gathering now, before the winter takes them away! Right now there are some gorgeous fall colors and I am curious to see how they will dye. In the meantime, simply gathering them on a stunning fall day -my first “free” day in awhile, is what makes this process so enjoyable!

So back to snipping and storing for the winter!