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, June 3, 2016
Fabric, Mordants and Alice Fox
A mordant is necessary to create the chemical reaction for the leaves (et. al.) to print on the fabric. Think of the necessity of soda ash for MX dyes. There are lots of mordants and lots of debate on which mordants are best. I think "best" is probably determined by the fabric, plants, heating techniques you use, and the outcome you want. I have tried soy milk but without great success. Soy milk makes the fabric react like a protein rather than a cellulose so the tannin in the leaves print better.
My mordant of choice right now is alum. You can buy it at the grocery store in small quantities or online at places like Dharma. Some people use a combination of alum and soda ash. Alum needs to be dissolved in a bucket with water. You need 5% -20% alum per weight of fabric ( Here is an example of the math: 5 to 20 grams alum per 100 grams fabric) or a combination of 4 tsp alum and 1/5 tsp washing soda per 4 oz fabric. You need enough water to allow the fabric to move around freely. Soak the fabric for at least 24 hours. The fabric will then be ready to use immediately or to dry and use later.
Artist: Alice Fox
Another eco-print artist that I absolutely adore is Alice Fox. She also rusts (yeah!!) and stitches leaves (who would have thought?) among other artistic uses of natural objects. She has also written a book that I adore. I don't know if I enjoy the book because I know more about eco-printing now or if the book covers several topics in less depth. Either way, I can follow the instructions.