Art from the land: Botanical printmaking on the Geyer Farm

Integrating art – visual, written word, film and more – has been an important element of the Climate Land Leaders initiative since it began. Engaging with creative work inspires; it also helps us manage climate grief.

Anna Geyer in the peach grove on her farm

Climate Land Leader Anna Geyer has been integrating art with her land stewardship for many years. This year, alongside conservation goals that included adding a new wetland basin and continuing to plant food-producing perennials, Anna grew marigolds, dyer’s coreopsis, willow and Hopi dye sunflowers and harvested local goldenrod, sumac and aronia for use in natural dyes, inks and botanical prints.

In the summer and fall, students joined Anna for botanical dyeing and printing workshops and open studio time at the folk school on the farm – with beautiful outcomes!

Enjoy this photo series from Anna showing the botanical printmaking process.

The process starts with harvesting the plant material for prints and background dyes.

Here Anna harvests goldenrod and willow at the wetlands.

Then while brewing the dye pots, the fabric is prepared, including scouring and mordanting.

Scouring the fabric removes dirt, grease and other substances added in the fabric’s manufacturing. Mordanting the fabric uses a metallic salt treatment that creates a bond between the dye and fabric. These steps help the natural dyes adhere to the fabric and retain their color.

After these preparation steps, the students place plant materials and add background dye blankets.

The prints are rolled into bundles to steam, which pulls out the colors.

Finally, the prints are unveiled!

See more of Anna’s art and learn about her land stewardship here.