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.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Experimenting with acrylics on fabric

In January, I visited the Society of Designer Craftsman and one of the artists I was inspired by was Sue Stone. In particular I liked how she added paint to her cloth to add additional texture and interest. So I thought I would do some experiments with my fabric paints and also my Heavy Body acrylics.

Some of my fabric paints were a little on the dry side! Note to self: do not buy a fabric paint just because it is on offer, it will invariably dry out before you use it. Only buy it when you know you will be using it soon. I bet you'd never buy fabric paint just because it was on offer would you?
I took a piece of loosely woven dyed fabric and randomly added fabric paints and acrylic paint.

On the whole I was pleased with my experiments. The paints held their shape on the fabric and I was also able to stitch into them.


I found only a small difference between the two media although the acrylics felt a tiny bit more plasticy and were perhaps a bit shinier but I would would consider using either of them on a piece, especially if it was a hanging. After I had success with the woven fabric, I wondered whether this technique would work on plain cotton and so pulled out a piece from my stash to experiment on.

Again, it was possible to create some relief on the fabric and although my experiment was less than scientific, I think the shapes held better on the woven textured fabric. This is a technique that I would definitely consider using future to add extra texture and interest to a piece. If you have done anything similar in your work I would love to hear about it.