A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Painting with Thickened Dyes--Quilter Beth

I finally had a chance to try painting with thickened dyes this weekend. I have to say up front that I am NOT a painter in any way shape or form. That will become abundantly clear after you see my attempt at this technique. It was VERY intimidating to try this technique after seeing the beautiful work of my fellow resident artists. 

I looked through my sketch/idea book to come up with a drawing I could paint. This drawing was inspired by photographs I took at an exhibit of Chihuly  glass. I LOVE the flow of the molten glass and tried to capture that in my piece.  According to the tutorial, the thickened dye should stay wet so it can batch properly. That was the hardest thing for me; I’m sure it didn’t stay wet. I tried to cover it as I went with small pieces of plastic, but that was next to impossible for me. 

I let it batch overnight, and this is my rinsed and dried piece. I guess not keeping it really wet didn't make a big different in the end, because the piece kept great color. I'm hoping with some quilting and thread painting it will be something I can use.
 I wanted to test the colors on a piece of cloth before I painted anything, so I used this next piece for testing and cleanup. (It was soaked in soda ash first.) It isn't great, but I did find that I LOVE the texture the wrinkled fabric and paintbrush made. I will be trying that again with a more controlled color palette.
I’m glad I tried this technique and now have it in my arsenal of tools, but it is not one I anticipate using frequently. I find that I have much better control (and WAY less mess) when I color a drawing on fabric using fabric paint.


  1. I love Chihuly, too, and can see why you'd want to paint some his work. You got nice, intense colors going for your piece here. What kinds of thread are you thinking of using?

    I agree that keeping the art wet is a bit of pain in the neck. Keeping the piece wet was emphasized in Hollis' class. I did a piece with a lot of black that I left covered with plastic outside in the sun and then forgot about. Two weeks later, I rinsed it out, and almost no dye rinsed out. Surprising, especially with black. Maybe it 'batched' really well. lol

    Your clean-up piece is very lively and has lots of movement. So unconstrained next to your Chihuly work. Lots of fun there. Any idea what you'll use it for? Looking forward to seeing more of your work!

  2. I love both of these pieces -- the colors sing! I can't wait to see the Chihuly piece after you hit it with thread!

  3. Yes I can hear the colors even over the ocean :-). Love your painting, well done!


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