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
Eco printed cotton – ice dyed organza silk – soluble fleece – watercolour dye – textile medium – paper thread – mulberry silk fiber – Vliesofix – several kinds of threads
Thread sketching – free motion machine quilting – hand stitching
The whole process is to read on my blog Kleurdesign
Close up view: