30 Days Wild is all about enjoying and appreciating nature, and a great way to do that is to be inspired by it to create something that captures some of its beauty. Hapa Zome is an activity that I have found visitors to our Environmental Education Centre at Paxton Pits of all ages enjoy - from small children to grandparents!
The technique was developed by artist India Flint when she needed to create forest floor scenery for a play in Japan. She ended up gathering leaves and pounding them into fabric. Hapa Zome is a kitchen Japanese phrase that means 'leaf dye'.
The technique is so simple, but the key is experimenting until you are happy with the results!
You will need
- A block of wood, or a sturdy chopping board.
- A hammer - although I tend to prefer to use a mallet at family drop-in sessions
- Pale cotton fabric, although different types of fabric will yield different results.
- Fabric scraps for testing
- Coloured flowers and leaves gathered from a garden. Different species will give different results, for example pansies are brilliant. Their central markings and the amount of dye in these flowers give great results. Darker colours and purple flowers are successful including species such as cosmos. Whilst some flowers or leaves yield little colour, flowers from species such as evening primrose contain too much moisture and just make a yellow 'smoosh' on the fabric! You can get some really lovely effects with leaves and flowers that show a change in colour and markings across one single leaf or petal.