FROM WEEDS TO RAGS – A gratitude workshop on how to recycle your cloth eco-printing it with your garden weeds

In April every year since 2013 we see the week of the Fashion Revolution. This is when in at least 100 countries in the world many get together to make sure we create a better Fashion industry. It centres around the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more on 24 April 2013.

Every year I run some events to generate interest about the event and about the importance of being grateful about any piece of woven cloth we have around us and the importance of making by hands.

This April on the 27th at 10am UK time I will run an Ecco-printing workshop on fabric live for 100 participants from around the world. We will be using recycled cellulose material and local leaves harvested around our area. There will be a small carbon foot print on around the event and I hope we will all have better awareness about the importance of recycling.

The event will take place on zoom and if you have received a space you will receive a link for it on Sunday prior to the workshop. As many of you are from different time zones I will be recording the event and it will be available on replay video for 24 hours. You will receive a link to the replay just after the live event.

I hope you will be posting your results on the FB page I have set up for it and when posting on your own pages you will tag my social media. (Ig page @bettysbeautifullife) (FB Elisabeth Viguie Culshaw)

If you are taking part you should organise the supplies listed here:

  • Dye pot (can be an old sauce pan if you are newbee) or a sauce pan if possible of non reactive material (stainless steel) big enough to contain a small wooden dowel.
  • Some Water
  • A Heat source (like a gaz stove, a heat plate)
  • Some dry onion skin
  • A small wooden dowel
  • Some String or some rubber bands
  • A long piece of recycled cotton or linen of the same width than the wooden dowel but about 50 cms long (I will be using linen myself) it should be very well washed with a ph neutral soap and a little soda ash. If you dont have this you could just dip your washed cotton in ash water.
  • Some garden leaves (can be weeds like herb roberts, geranium…)
  • A bowl of iron water (3 grs of ferrous sulphate powder in 2 litres of water) or home made iron water.

Health and Safety:

  • Please try and work outdoor if you can or make sure your space is well ventilated
  • Make sure to protect your space for rust marks from the rust water or from stains from the Onion skin dye
  • Watch the safety of the Iron water to avoid stains of rust.
  • Protect your table and wear gloves when dipping your hands into iron water.
  • Contain your work to the table space you have secured to avoid staining.

Please share your process with friends and family… this should be a happy moment for all

I hope to see you on the 27th April.

Happy Fashion revolution.

Betty xx

About Elisabeth, The Lansdowne House and The True Colour of the Cotinus…

Elisabeth is a self employed artist, She was trained in Decorative Arts, She works with Natural dyes and Eco-prints. French born, she is based in Glasgow in Scotland where she runs her sustainable studio “The Lansdowne House”. From the old kitchen of her Victorian home she works, creates and teaches Natural dyes and Eco-Printing (during the Covid Crisis online live on zoom). To learn with her check her classes Here

“The True Colour of the Cotinus” is a global Eco-printing project created by French artist Elisabeth Viguie Culshaw in 2020 during the Covid crisis from her Glasgow studio.

Using the online platform Zoom and a dedicated Facebook group, she wanted to provide isolated Eco-printers from all over the world with a communal simple technique to follow.

By summer 2021 over 700 participants have taken part virtually and created blue prints from the Cotinus plant. Elisabeth is planning a live exhibition (or two) for 2022, She will be crowdfunding to support it.

They interact regularly in a dedicated Facebook group. They are located in all time zones.

Resilience and creativity were the project key focus, friendship and beautiful prints are the result.

If you want to take part in the project look here for future workshops or PDF methods for fabric and paper printing. Taking one workshop or obtaining one method will allow you in the group.

“The True Colour of the Cotinus” cards and calendars are Elisabeth’s own unique Eco-prints and help funding the ongoing project. Elisabeth is a self-employed full-time artist. She lives with her husband John, in Glasgow (Scotland) where she is known for her community projects (The Big Rose, The Big Banner…), in her urban garden she cultivates 5 Cotinus plants.

To purchase our cards and calendar look Here (Link pending)

Elisabeth was trained in Decorative Arts by Christie’s and The University of Glasgow in the 1990’s. With strong connections to the Mackintosh Heritage, She pursued a career in the recreation of historic wall treatment and specialised in stencilling with a special emphasis on the Art Nouveau period. She is well known for her interpretation of Mackintosh’s The House for an Art Lover and her most recent recreation work of the Glasgow “Willows tea rooms” from 1903.

She has a strong interest in Community art and she has been running almost yearly programs involving the Community in Art projects, such as The Big Rose, (West of Scotland, Mackintosh Festival 2016) involving over 500 participants across 13 venues. The public was involved in stencilling large Mackintosh roses outdoors creating communal carpets outside Mackintosh buildings.

She was commissioned in 2015 to recreate some interior stencilling first designed in 1903 by designer and architect George Walton in Dunblane in Scotland.

Inspired by her regular travelling in South East Asia since 1995 she gradually moved into the use of more Eco techniques like Indigo, natural dyes and Ecoprinting. She is self trained but also catches specialised workshops with specialist artists such as Aboubakar Fofana for Indigo, Irit Dullman for Ecoprinting as well as learning from local wisdom she finds around her. She organises skill swaps with other artist as she believe we only learn well from teachers we feel passionate about. In 2020 she organised a skill swap in Thailand sharing her Eco-printing methods with some community of dyers and textile artists agains some of their local knowledge.

She runs The Lansdowne House her home based studio since 1990 and in turn has been using it as a private studio, as a school of stencilling and up-cycling and more recently as the online studio for her online live classes. She entertains a long term relationship with her pupils and regularly organises “get together” wether online live or in person.

2017 The Big Banner project saw 13 “Hand stencilled Roses banners” by groups of participants in public locations before an exhibition of those at The Lighthouse design center in Glasgow during the Mackintosh Festival

2019/2020 in Printing in Woodlands, she gathers the public an gardeners in the Woodlands Community garden to learn the art of Ecoprinting working outdoors. An exhibition of communal pieces takes place in the Glasgow Botanical garden in February 2020 with an open day of free crafts workshops.

In the summer of 2020, in the peak of the Covid crisis she launched “The True Colour of the Cotinus” a global Eco-printing project to test the colours you can obtain from the Cotinus (Smoke Bush) leaves. Set to test the prints on paper, in 2021 the emphasis has moved to fabric with another two online workshops. By mid 2021 over 400 participants are involved in sampling leaves on various target materials. Elisabeth comments “the emphasis is not the leaves, nor the prints… its about creating a focus for participants to connect with. The Cotinus is a great leaf to print and the colour blue obtained gives everyone a focus for attention. The creativity involved and the connection it has created is tremendous. The buzz among the group is well worth the hard work I ended up putting in the project. I hope this will culminate in a physical exhibition at some point.

When at home, Elisabeth works in a sustainable manner in the circular economy, recycling cloth gathered from the local BnB and using leaves from her local park. When purchasing cloth and dyes she invest in community of weavers/dye producers who can benefit from her orders.

She lives in Glasgow with her husband but her circle of friends, family and pupils is international… she says… “The World is my Village”.

She likes… travelling, cooking, gardening, and spending quiet times in her studio.

She is a member of the West of Scotland guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers and Applied Art Scotland.