Saturday, 23 February 2013

Dry brush dyeing - inspired by the Italian Lakes

I would really like to create a textile piece based on the photograph I took in Italy last year.  I have drawn and painted into copies of the photograph with a view generating new ideas.

Here's one of the photographs that I drew into:

In fact I started printing two pieces of cloth about a month ago, one on cotton sateen and another on fine cotton.  I hated them. Usually you can work on them to get something usable but I thought these pieces were irretrievable. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Why didn't I trial the technique? Why did I start so large?  Why did I start with such dark colours? There was only one thing for it....

They had to go into a bucket of discharge solution to remove as much colour as possible. The pieces are undoubtedly paler and now provide options for over printing, although I don't think they will ever represent my photograph of the Italian lake.

So last weekend I went in the garage to start a trial piece. I've started with lighter colours and I plan to build them up...slowly.

I am using a 'distressed' brush to paint the liquid dye onto the fabric but I found the technique harder to control than I thought it would be. It's amazing how the results change depending on the brush you use, the angle of the brush etc. Maybe my gridy phase is going to give way to a stripey phase?

I had hoped to enter one of my gridy pieces into the Festival of Quilts this year but I now realise that it's less than the required 1m length. Will I be able to create a piece inspired by the Italian lakes that I am happy with, in time for the Festival of Quilts? It's good to have a target isn't it? Well that's what I'll tell myself. The problem is having the time and space to create all the layers of colour.  It's a slow process and that's before any stitching is done.  If you would like to join me and set yourself the challenge of entering the FOQ, you can get the entry form here.


  1. I like the effects you are getting with the dye painting. Looks like you have a good space in the garage to work on larger pieces but I bet it's cold in there just now. I am planning to enter a quilt for FOQ but it's not even in the planning stage yet, just a vague idea. Panic! Time is passing rapidly!

    1. It is cold in there, although it was a little warmer last weekend. I'm lucky that I do have somewhere to work but I have to set up the table each time I want to use it. It would be really good to have a studio that I could leave all my things out ready to use at a moment's notice. Maybe one day?

      I look forward to seeing your quilt.


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