Rebecca Yeomans rolls out a strip of fabric once the dyeing process is complete.
She prefers to print on silk. She starts by dipping fresh-picked leaves in
an iron solution. Certain leaves like grape and oak possess more tannins,
lending to dramatic, darker impressions.
Through workshops and self-education, Yeomans also developed her
own natural dyes for fabric and scarves.
“Avocado pits make this really pretty pink color. I’ve got bags of them
in the freezer, and it takes about 10 to make a dye,” she says. “I use onion
skins and some others that include Osage orange and marigold.”
When it’s time to print, she takes her fabric of choice and soaks it in
a vinegar wash, blotting until damp. Depending on the desired pattern,
leaves can be placed close together or farther apart. Yeomans stresses
the importance of not going into an eco-print with a predetermined design,
as you never know what you might get.
“Leaves have a sun and moon side; the vein side prints dark, and you
get a silhouette of the leaf,” she says while placing each on the cloth, then
selecting a pole.
Wider poles are used to spread out the design; smaller ones condense
the nature at hand. Some eco-printers prefer to separate sections
with plastic wrap, but she loves the “ghosting” effect achieved from
“Some of my printings contain only two leaves, but when you roll it
on your pole they bleed through and form a pattern,” she says. “A lot of
people put down layers of fabric or plastic to keep it from ghosting. I’m
into the ghosting so all of my prints have background things going on.”
She applies as much strength as possible when rolling. Each print is
birthed through a combination of moisture, heat and pressure. She binds
them with plastic wrap. An alternative includes twine, which lends its own
The fabric-adorned pole is placed in a large pot atop boiling water to
steam for two hours. For flowers, she prefers 30 minutes.
Yeomans’ artwork doesn’t end with an eco-print. It’s merely part of a
process combining embroidery, knitting and jewelry-making.
“Growing up, a lady down the street babysat us. She was a knitter and
taught me how to knit at age 8,” Yeomans says. “By middle school I was
knitting cable sweaters and entering them in the Cleveland County Fair,
winning ribbons in the adult category. The fiber art started with my jewelry.
When my kids left the house, I started making jewelry, knitting with tiny
needles and beads on the thread. That introduced me to the fiber arts
collective. We took the eco-printing class and I just moved right along.”
Her early eco-prints began with scarves. As she’s grown accustomed to
the process, practicing trial-and-error by recording detailed notes on each,
her artwork has evolved into a collective of handmade creations.
In Maple Windfall, leaves are outlined in embroidery as the ghosting
technique lends to distant whispers of silhouettes in between texture.
Grevillea, part of her Grid series, showcases a botanical imprint framed by
painted, distressed paper. Yeomans uses toilet paper rolls and shopping
bags to lend earthy and sometimes tribal aesthetics, particularly seen in
Pecan from her Bag series.