Eke Krug – Botanics Chamerion angustifolium

Chamerion angustifolium in Latin, Wilgenroosje in Dutch, Geitrams in Norwegian and Fireweed in English, also known as Rosebay Willowherb, that is my choice for the Botanical theme.

When I was a child, I lived in the suburbs of Amsterdam, new areas of land, with new houses. A whole new infrastructure was planned, dikes were built for future roads and railways, they pumped up all the sand from a place in the area, which later on became a lake surrounded by parks and with lots of swimming places .

The dikes were a nice place to play for us children, and there were a lot of flowers growing on the sand. One of them was the beautiful, violet Willowherb. I always took some flowers back home and gave them to my mother, she loved them a lot.  During my adult life, I didn’t see the plant anymore, until I moved to Norway and especially to the place where we live now. Our house is surrounded by Willowherbs, comin up in spring, having their beautiful flowers in summer and the seedpods and the snow like fluffs in autumn. The best places to grow for these plants are, sandy grounds, rocks and the woods. That’s why I didn’t see them anymore, I lived on the rich clay for many years.

The reason that I choose this plant is not only that it reminds me of my mother and my childhood, but also the energy that it creates during its short live, the very nice red colours that it turns on in autumn, but also the high level of tannin in the plant, which it makes it excellent for eco printing.

Two pieces of cotton, eco printed with Willowherb, were used for the background of my art quilt. The big piece on the right-side was printed in spring, and gave less colour than the small piece on the left-side, which was printed in autumn. A layer of ice dyed organza silk is on top of it, which gives it its rich yellow look, like the colour of sand and on the left-side the colour of rocks and woods.

I made a drawing of the plant and copied it on soluble fleece. The fleece was stitched on the cotton-silk layer by free machine quilting, although there was no batting behind it. The lettering is done in the same way, with free motion machine-quilting on soluble fleece, afterwards I put some hand stitches around it. I used different kind of threads for the three plants, and I think this is thread-sketching, a method I never used before. After washing the fleece vanished and the next step was to put some colour on it. Watercolour dye and textile-medium is what I used for it. The big leaves in the front on the bottom are original eco prints of leaves of the Willowrose, which I coloured in the same way. The piece is machine quilted, with a bonded batting in between, using different kind and colours of thread and free motion quilting. The big leaves are fused on top of it and stitched by hand. So are the opened seedpods, made with paper thread and the fluffs are made with mulberry silk fiber. At last there is some hand stitching in the flowers.

A lot is written on the web about this plant, I give you the English link on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamerion_angustifolium

Materials:

Eco printed cotton – ice dyed organza silk – soluble fleece – watercolour dye – textile medium – paper thread – mulberry silk fiber – Vliesofix – several kinds of threads

Techniques:

Thread sketching – free motion  machine quilting – hand stitching

The whole process is to read on my blog Kleurdesign

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Close up view:

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  1. A very pretty rendition of this plant, Eke, and I enjoyed your trip down memory lane. I believe I’ve seen Fireweed out here on the Prairies, but it is often confused with a more invasive plant, “Purple Loosestrife”. I’ll keep my eyes open for both next summer and see if I can spot the difference!

  2. Beautiful work Eke. I love your attention to detail an all the different techniques you used. The eco dyeing worked out a lot better than mine. Great explanation.

  3. Eke, your work is stunning. Thank you for explaining all the techniques you used. I am mystified by soluble fleece, I must look it up to see what the equivalent product is here. The flowers and leaves really stand out. I enjoyed reading your informative write up too.

  4. I grew up with the willow-herb which we considered as a dreaded weed! I took a photo of some just the other day due to its vibrant autumn foliage… now I know that it is good for eco-dying I will have to give it a try! Love the way that you have captured those seeds which stick to everything! A lovely study.

  5. It is a beautiful piece Eke and I like the contrast of your flowers and leaves on the background. Your thread sketching and quilting on the background are very effective.

  6. Eke, thank you for sharing your technique, I have not heard of soluble fleece before. The flower is also new to me. Your quilt is very professional in all aspects. Bravo

  7. What a contrast between the colours of the eco dying. I haven’t heard of soluble fleece either. The dark quilting around the leaves certainly set them of a really great piece.

  8. We had a lot of wilgenroosjes next to our house when I grew up. I liked them very much. You eco printing is beautiful. Lovely how you used all the different techniques. Well done!

  9. I love the rich earthy colours in your quilt which truly bring out the colours of the Willowherb and remind me of the open spaces that I see it growing in here. Your stitching and attention to detail are lovely.

  10. I am not familiar with this plant. I love the multi layering that you used to create the piece. Your eco printed fabric is beautiful. The overall effect is like being in a green forest.I too am unfamiliar with soluble fleece.

  11. This is a beautiful quilt. A weed in England but you have shown it to be quite magnificent

  12. Beautiful colors and design, and meticulously stitched. Lovely.

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