May Half Term: Natural Pigments and Plant Recognition


The first day was dedicated to teaching the children about the technique of eco printing. Inspired by the ancient art of natural dyeing and reinvented by textile artist India Flint. We first introduced the children to different types of leaves and showed them also some textiles that had already been eco printed. We also sent the children to find some leaves and flowers of their own. We explained to the children that this was very much a ‘mad scientist experiment’ and that we were not sure ourselves of the final results. In fact, whether the pigment from the flowers and leaves ‘sticks’ depends very much on a host of factors: the leaves chosen, the season, the water, the type of fabric etc.

 Children collecting leaves Plant recognition

 Making the bundles

  Simmering the bundles


On the second day we did some Hapa Zome – which is the process of pounding flowers and leaves to transfer the pigment onto cloth. Out eco print experiment results in very faint colours on the cloth, the leaves did not print even though we chose leaves  (Oak and maple) that we knew usually leave a print on cloth (we don’t know why this is, we’ll have to adjust the recipe!). The onion skin left dyed quite nicely, giving a lovely reddish/brownish background colour.  

  Hapa zome Children choose the materials

 Cosmos flower Onion skinsCosmos flower

Half Term October 2016

We ran three successful Forest school sessions at Cody Dock during the half term holidays in October 2016. They were attended by over 20 children.


On the first day, the children started to build a mini temple decorated with natural crafts and materials. The temple was later used at the Cody Dock’s Halloween Party. Many children also helped with the cooking, they cut vegetable to make a tasty nourishing soup on the fire.


On the second day, we did some weaving with naturally dyed wool on some frames that we created from some recycled cardboard. We also attempted to make bread and tried different ways to bake it (the result was not perfect but kids enjoyed the experience!). The bread went nicely with the tomato soup.



On the third day, the children made lanterns from recycled jars and decorated them with scraps of paper and leaves while other children finished decorating the mini-temple. Other children helped with the cooking again. We also prepared a special treat, vegetarian marshmallows cooked by the children on the fire accompanied by chocolate and biscuits. The children sat nicely around the table with their yummy treat listening to stories and later also helped around the garden.

 et voilà … the mini temple is complete!