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Pounding Process
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Pounding is process of transferring the pigment from flowers and plants to fabric or paper.  It can be traced back in time to the Cherokee.  The amazing results are an impressionist record of the botanical material. 

 

There is a bit of preparation to do before the pounding can begin.  The recipe takes a bit of time but is necessary if you want the best results.  I have used muslin, linen and silk with great success.  For a first time attempt I recommend muslin it is the easiest to work with.

 

Once the material has been treated and ironed it time for the fun to begin.

 

Other needed items:

parchment paper

hammer

newspaper or some other blotter paper

plant material

 

Place newspaper or other protective paper under the area to be pounded.  Place the material on top of the newspaper.  The newspaper will serve two purposes; protect the surface being pounded on and deafen the noise a bit.  (Side note: most men are not tolerant of the noise of continual hammering.  So far I have managed to annoy my step father and fiancée with the process.)

 

Place the material on top of the newspaper.

 

Arrange blossoms and leaves one at a time on the material.  These can be taped down in place.  Cover with parchment paper.

 

Using a regular hammer (no rubber mallets please) firmly pound the flowers.  Try a sample piece of material first to understand how the pigment will transfer.  Different blossoms will transfer more easily than others. 

 

Allow the designs to dry, then iron lightly to "set" the colors.  Some browning and fading will occur.

 

Recipe for Mordant Bath

 

3 tablespoons of cream of tartar

4 tablespoons of alum

20 cups of water

3 yards material (muslin, wool, silk)

 

Bring the water to a simmer and add ingredients, mixing thoroughly until dissolved.  Add prewashed wet material and continue to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.  Move the material around a bit during the simmering.  Take off heat and allow to cool completely in pan overnight works well.  Rinse well and dry.  Drying can be either drip dry or in a dryer with no softener sheets.  Once dry iron to remove wrinkles and store in a dark place until ready for pounding.

 

Treats about 3 yards of fabric