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.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Surface Design Round Robin #1 - Laura

Hi there--

When I thought about what I was going to do for this Round Robin, I realized that almost every piece of fabric that I've created over the past few years was a series of different techniques that I performed on it, which is technically what a round robin is.  Usually it gets passed on from one person to the next, but we're doing our own kind of round robin here--a Solo, which is a little bit harder, in my opinion.

We all probably have some fabric we've dyed or done something to that we aren't in love with--what do you do with it?  I tend to put mine away for a while, and think about what else I want to do with it to try to get something I want to use.  So, for this, I pulled out a piece of fabric that I dyed a while back that was just kind of "blah". It's about 2 yards long x 44 inches.  It was originally dyed with turquoise and sun yellow.  I had dyed it flat, pouring the colors onto it and leaving it in the sun, covered, for a few hours.

I really had hoped that the two colors would blend more and create more green, which didn't happen.   So, I ripped it up into several smaller pieces.

I decided to batik one of the pieces, so I got out some circle shapes.  I choose the smaller one, part of a pool noodle (not recommended, as you will see)...

Heated up my beeswax in the electric frypan, and stamped one row. 

My pool noodle piece started to melt after I stamped one row, so I had to find a replacement tool quickly.  I found a potato that was a similar size, cut it in half and carved out a hole.
Then I got one of those corn-on-the-cob holder thingies and used that to hold the potato while dipping into the hot wax. 

Here it is all stamped, you really can't tell the difference between the pool noodle shape and the potato shape, can you?

 Then, it gets dyed in some turquoise dye (a strong solution).

Here it is all done:

On another piece of the turquoise & yellow, I used a foam paintbrush with cutouts to make some stripes, and dipped into the beeswax and spread it on.

 When that was done, I folded it up--

 And poured some dark navy blue dye on it.

Let it all soak in for about an hour--

Here it is with the wax removed, washed, and ready to go:
I may leave these pieces as is, and not do anything else to them.  Any suggestions from readers out there?


  1. I love them Laura. Batik is one of my favs. Foil would look great on the striped one since it is so dark - maybe as a last process!! Paints? Stamps?

  2. What a great idea to use a carved potato, Laura! I need to give that a try. Re: suggestions for what more to do to these pieces, I'm always in favor of studying the piece for awhile before I go on... I think using contrasting paints to add shapes to them might be fun to try... can't wait to see what you decide to do!

  3. Well, I'm glad that at least you (Beth & Judy) are reading this post! I always worry that I'm doing just another thing and just another thing and another until it's too much, if you know what I mean?

  4. As for the layering, I learned during my first couple of Round Robins to gve myself some time to study each piece as it came to me, and think of what might add to the appearance. But with this round robin, I was mainly playing and seeing what techniques I could add to give it some variety. What ended up happening though, is that for the most part I did techniques side by side instead of layering the way I had intended to do... that was part of the fun... letting the fabric tell me what to try next!

  5. I love the stripy version, the contrast between the colours is gorgeous. Beth's suggestion of foiling it sound intriguing too...

  6. I have not tried batik. I have a few fabrics I experimented with and put away. I may try to find them and have another go. Thanks!

  7. I love seeing this process. The corn holder for the potato stamp is an eye-opener. So far, I love using commercial fabrics in unique way…. but hope to eventually give stamping and low immersion dyeing etc. a try. Thanks for being an inspiration. So glad you are over at "Running with Scissors" too.


Although this blog is no longer active, we will get your comments so please feel free to share them.