Hapazome Method

 photo: Marshall Birnbaum

photo: Marshall Birnbaum

hapazome

Hapazome is an easy way to make dye transfers with plants.

Not all plants have enough pigment to dye fabric. And many of them yield browns and yellows in a dye pot. Bundle-dyeing is one way to extract as much pigment as you can out of plant matter. Instead of steeping lots of plant matter in boiling water to create a solution concentrated enough to dye with, you simply wrap flowers and leaves into the fabric, roll it up, bundle with twine, and steam the color onto the fabric. 

Hapazome is an even more immediate process. You pick plants you'd like to use, prepare your fabric, sandwich your material between the fabric, and using a smooth surface and a blunt tool (like a hammer, mallet, or thick dowel) pound the pigment out of the plants onto your fabric. The results are not always lightfast and the prints might just stay visible for a few years, but it sure is fun with beautiful results! 

I experimented with some hapazome during my residency at Summit and then also did a mini workshop with some kids later in the summer. It's a great activity to get them wondering about the plants around them and they can do the entire process themselves, giving them a sense of agency.