My eco-staining journey began in 2006 on our farm in North Carolina. I was given some freshly-sheared wool from my friend on a nearby farm. I attempted to dye the wool by boiling it with fruits and leaves from our persimmon trees, held in place by a piece of paper and a rock. Although the wool did not dye, the paper did.
I began experimenting with all types of plants from around the farm. Shortly after, I opened a pottery studio and decided to put my plant-staining discovery aside to focus on my thriving new business. Several years later, my family and I moved to Florida and I finally gave myself the time I needed to fully explore the possibilities of eco-staining. I conducted countless hours of research alongside hands-on trial and error, and started to understand the science, as well as the required techniques, to develop the process into an art.
I have spent over a decade perfecting my art and mastering the process. I have discovered the nuances that can influence the end result, such as the species of plant, the region it was harvested from, during which season it was harvested, and the combination of plants being used together. These seemingly small factors can have a big impact on the outcome.
Although every piece I create is unique from the next, they all share one fundamental element: they are expressions of the beauty that resides deep within nature.
I design each one-of-a-kind paper piece by creating lovely color and patterns using fresh leaves, flowers, seeds, and other natural elements. The papers and plant elements are pressed then boiled for several hours. After cooling, I peel the flowers and leaves off; the papers emerge from the process stained with the enchanting beauty of nature...each piece unique. The finished papers are used as art pieces, journals, photo albums, sketchbooks and more; for any reason that you would normally use a blank book.
Nature is my favorite setting and my journal is my sounding board, my brainstorming companion. It is my voice from a different perspective. When I write, I change. I evolve. Never again will I be the same as I was when I wrote those words. By having those thoughts written down, I can look back and see what I was thinking and analyze the path I took between then and now.
Since I began this journey of eco-staining, I have grown. My journal is my evidence of growth. I don’t write diaries. They are not word for word accounts of what I do. My journal writings are reflective and descriptive. I get inspired to write and when I return to read them, I get inspired in a different way. That inspiration keeps me focused on my goals.
Follow along as Rachelle "pulls out" and paints
Mother Nature who was hidden within the plant stains of her journal!
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