Monday, November 28, 2011

Week 9 - Dyeing

College was a messy affair this week as we started to learn about dyeing fabrics. We began with Transfer or Disperse Dyes. These were either liquid, like ink, or solid, like a wax crayon, and had to be applied to very thin Layout Paper. We were shown a few ideas and then let loose!

Here, I scrunched the paper and then splashed on the liquid dyes and let them mix.
Here I painted on a more controlled pattern and then splashed on yellow. The colour of the dyes on the paper is much more muted than the final colour.
Here I painted on a photocopy in the hope that the black photocopy ink would provide a resist to the dye and appear white on the fabric.

The liquid dyes have to be fully dry before you can transfer them to the fabric.
Rubbings of leaves with hand drawn leaves round the edge. This was done with the wax crayon type of dye.
Finally, more rubbings of outdoor surfaces at the college - treadplate, concrete slab, fence post, brick wall etc. This piece is ripped randomly ready for the next stage.

The dye is transferred to the fabric by using a very hot iron. These kinds of dyes only work on synthetic fabrics, like polycotton or net curtain. All fabrics for dyeing have to be machine washed and ironed before use, so you know what I was doing last weekend!
So here are the results after transfer onto fabric. The colours are much brighter. You can iron the image more than once, until the dye is spent. I thought that the blue and red stripy one was a bit boring after transfer so I ripped it up and re-ironed it and it became much more interesting.

It was hard to keep the paper stationary as you ironed it as you had to press hard and keep the iron moving so that you don't get blank 'steam holes'.
Here is the surface rubbings one on a sheer fabric so the colours are not as strong. The pieces were moved and re-ironed many times to make a kind of patchwork image - wish I had chosen better colours!
Next we moved onto Procion dyes which only work on natural fabrics. The fabric has to be wetted with a mordant, which helps the dye bind chemically to the fibres of the fabric. We used salt water and a solution of soda ash as our mordants - a couple of tablespoons of each on each piece of fabric. We then squirted in the liquid dye - a different colour on each end and let them mix naturally. All this took place in a plastic bag so we couldn't really control the final effect. These were left for 24 hours for the dye to fix before rinsing out with cold water and washing in hot.
Here are the results. I dyed muslin and calico samples. I think because the muslin is thinner I could get more folds and creases in the fabric and so more marbling.
Finally we were shown a method of colouring fabric without the need for specialist dyes using acrylic paint. We mixed cyan, yellow and magenta paint 50:50 with water and then painted them onto the fabric without the colours touching. By folding and rolling the fabric the colours mix where they touch. It is then hung up to dry before ironing (top two brighter pieces).
Your table is now covered with acrylic paint so we used a second piece of fabric to mop up the excess, producing the paler pieces at the bottom.
On Friday I went with a couple of ladies from my college course to see 2 exhibitions locally. The first was Material World at the Hillier Gardens, an exhibition of textile art. We were allowed to take photos so here are my favourites.
by Lorna Abel

by Lorna Abel

Sunset by Cindy Rose
by Maureen Evans

Summer Diagonal Paper Fusion

Cushion centre

I love the use of maps on this
Calm Waters by Lorna Abel
I bought this handbag decoration because I love the shape and I am always interested in how things like this are made to see if I could make one myself. The flower appears to be stiff silk but I don't know how it has been treated to stop fraying. The centre is a mother of pearl 'bead'.
I wanted to buy one of these vintage button brooches but in the end decided I could make one as they were £12 each!

Then we went on to an exhibition at Mottisfont Abbey called Cutting Edge. This focuses on different uses of paper. We were privileged to see works by Rob Ryan, who cuts the most intricate details out of whole sheets of paper, but no photographs were allowed. See his work on his blog.

I did photograph this amazing piece by local artist Eileen White.

At the weekend I submitted some designs for the Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum christmas card. I cut an image of their logo out of black card and added stars in the sky. I experimented with different backing papers - here are just a few of the many. I'll update the blog when we finally choose one.

Finally I got round to buying a frame and doing something with some beautiful hand printed gift tags by Sarah Hough I bought on the Salisbury Art Trail in October. I have simply mounted them on a piece of linen. As ever, my favourite one is the cow parsley/allium head type one.

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