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.
Friday, May 29, 2015
rain delay - time to summarize
Where will you get inspiration? Anywhere there is texture, color and lines. In other words - everywhere! Is this mystery photo below a deconstructed screen print? Sure looks like one to me. Keep reading to learn where the photo was taken.
Prepare the fabric
Soak cotton fabric for at least 30 minutes in a solution of nine tablespoons to one cup (recipes vary) to one gallon of water. Wring out the soda water back into the bucket to reuse. Handwoven fabrics take longer to dry and seems like forever in 98% humidity. See the sky reflected in that puddle out there? That's my backyard and the waters have actually receded a lot. As long as you're looking, notice the last few gardenias on the bush on the left. Still a heavy perfume in the air.
Don't iron your soda-soaked fabrics - they are likely to get scorched - and I am not risking the same by using the dryer. Steady and slow. That's me... :(
Not really! I dug up some fabrics that had been stretched on a print board a couple of years ago and not used in a demo - so you know I have so many print boards that one can sit with unused fabric on it for years.
Prepare the screens
The dye on the screens has to be dry. I like to draw on the bottom side of the screen with thickened concentrated dye. At my house, it takes at least overnight for dye to dry on the screen. You can speed it up with a hair dryer but be careful you don't blow it around and spoil your intended design.
I use two layers of corrugated cardboard, covered in batting and protected by clear vinyl tablecloth. All duct taped to the underside. Short T-pins work well, pressed well down and out of the way of the screen.
Pull the prints
I used clear print paste which is just the thickener and a plastic squeegee - an old credit card will work also.
Batch the prints
While I am waiting for the added dye on the screen to dye, I have placed plastic over the first border so it can batch for at least 48 hours. Because the second border will have to batch that long, the first border will be batching twice as long but in this case, more is better. Batching is just letting the wet dye sit on the cloth long enough to make a strong bond.
Wash out excess dye
One last step in the process. Washing up. A sometimes discouraging step. You will lose some color. No home dye formulation can be 100% perfect. Printing lays down more dye than the fabric can chemically take up, so the excess has to be removed. If you have vast areas of white fabric that is presoaked in soda, you may get some staining there, so the better choice is to avoid wide open white areas. Cover your design with dye if you can.
First wash with cool water to remove the thickener and excess dye. When you are bored with this step and the rinse water is mostly clear, begin to wash in very hot water with Synthapol or blue Dawn dishwashing soap. The soap will help prevent the backstaining. The hot water will loosen up the rest of the unused dye. I usually get my electric kettle whistling with boiling water and pour into a bucket. Add hot water from your faucet to bring the temperature down to about 140 degrees F. Let your fabric soak with a little soap overnight.
Take a break, read your email, go for a walk. Washing out is not the fun part of this job. Wring out and do another hot soak and washout. If you still have color in the rinse water, keep doing the 140 degree F soak with soap. I usually finish up with a small hot load (adding water from the whistling kettle, too) in the washing machine - assuming all the fabric is in a similar colorway to avoid cross backstaining.
Here's my washed-out, still slightly damp deconstructed screen printing on the borders of a handwoven scarf from Dharma.
Art Supply on Main. I love that they pulled up the old flooring and didn't bother to paint or refinish. Or maybe they have by now, I'll have to drop in and check one of the these days. Judging by my stash of art supplies, I do not need to go shopping at an art supply store, but still, there could be something new to try ....
Hope you enjoyed this month of posts on deconstructed screen printing. Writing up the May posts here got me excited all over again about printing. Check out my blog for more current work and come back here for Fabric Collage with Cris Winters in June.
linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday