Document Your Garden

Flower Pounding by Rebecca Burgess, photos by Paige Green

Flower Pounding by Rebecca Burgess, photos by Paige Green

Guest post by Rebecca Burgess,* photos by Paige Green.


There are many ways to translate the beautiful colors of the garden and the wild spaces into our clothes and household textiles. Some of these processes are quite simple and yield beautiful colors with no need for complex tools or timeframes. Pansies, borage, and daffodils are examples species that can offer beautiful color to a textile. This project is perfect for experimenting with both familiar and unfamiliar plant material you find or grow in your own garden.



Freshly gathered flowers and leavesTextile (could be a table cloth or an old t-shirt)Mallet or hammerWater filled spray bottlePinch of wood ash (from a wood burning stove)

  1. Put a pinch of wood ash into your spray bottle and shake to dissolve.
  2. Place your plant material on one half of your fabric, and then fold the empty side of your fabric over it.
  3. Spray your folded fabric with the water mixture until the fabric absorbs the water
  4. Use your mallet and begin to gently pound the plant material
Flower Pounding Impressions

Impressions from the plants will begin to emerge onto your textile. The imprints are not permanent, the purpose of the process is for it to fade over time, and as this happens you continue to pound flowers and leaves based on your aesthetic preferences. I tend to pound flowers from each season into my fabric, allowing the cloth to become a journal of the garden’s blooming cycles.

Rebecca Burgess

*Rebecca Burgess is a revitalizer of natural dyeing techniques, ecological restoration educator, textile artist, author of the book Harvesting Color and founder of Ecologicalarts and the Fibershed Project in Mill Valley, California.