A JAPANESE PRINTMAKING TECHNIQUE
Hapa zome, literally meaning “leaf dye”, is a Japanese printmaking technique that uses the natural pigments in leaves and flowers to produce surprisingly detailed prints.
It was developed and named by textile artist India Flint. As India rightly says; “people have probably been doing this for thousands of years” and, once you’ve had a go, you’ll wonder how you’re only just finding out about it now - I know I did!
A QUICK STRESS-BUSTING ACTIVITY
This printmaking technique ticks all the boxes for me. Quick, TICK. Easy TICK. Impressive, TICK. Creative, TICK. Stress-busting, TICK.
Very simply put, you arrange flowers and leaves between two pieces of natural fabric and using a hammer, pummel the life out of the leaves until they give out their pigments.
A FLEETING GIFT FROM NATURE
The one downside is that these prints don’t last forever, at least the initial vibrancy doesn’t. Over time they will fade to taupe and definitely won’t survive a wash. To make the hapa zome print permanent the fabric can be mordanted prior to use - this involves simmering the fabric in a solution of aluminium acetate, rinsing and drying – but I prefer not to and view them as a fleeting gift from nature.
Besides, they’re SO easy to do you can just print more every month as you go through the ever changing seasons.
I can’t pretend that this is a difficult printmaking technique to master but there are some hints and tips that I’ve picked up along the way that you might find useful, so for a full list of materials and instructions click here.