Unbelievably, it did not rain yesterday, so I sprinted outside at lunchtime and did some painting with thickened acid dyes. Here are s0me of the results:
I like this one; the yellow-and-blue sections provide some nice texture to the background, without distracting from the main image. This weave pattern seems suitable for doing detailed images with lots of lines; it’s interesting enough to provide texture while not distracting from the primary image. I don’t think this would be successful with a more dramatic weave pattern.
(The stencil actually came out just fine; the image blurred because of poor treatment afterwards – I was impatient so ironed it dry, and some areas got contaminated).
This, on the other hand, fails to excite me:
It demonstrates that my technique works – you do indeed get turquoise stripes against a red background where the two dyes have dyed the fibers differently – but it’s essentially boring. (Especially since, at arms’-length or further, the two colors optically blend into a single duller color.) This is because the dots of different colors aren’t big enough to provide interest to the eye; the weave structure that worked fine for the horse doesn’t play well here. Yes, you get blocks of color, but you could do that with a single type of dye on a “normal” fabric. About the only thing you do get is a bit of texture.
This, on the other hand, is more dramatic, and I like it a lot better:
You may need to click through for the larger photo, but the pattern stands out well, especially in the blotch at top middle and lower right. This would be suitable for large swaths of color, as the pattern adds interest to what would otherwise be a fairly boring blob.
Here is a photo that shows the contrast between twill (texture) and pattern (image):
The dye job is slightly different between the two (and I think only the bottom left blue moon is really successful), but you can see that there is a totally different “mood” between the twill and the pattern sections. The twill feels more calm (of course, it is also lower-contrast) while the diamond pattern “feels” jazzier.
What next? Well, I have a small quantity of what I think will be a very interesting fabric to experiment with:
The diamonds were a relatively subtle pattern. This one is not subtle: it’s bands of five-end satin “woven” with bands of five-end sateen, and should produce a strong contrast between alpaca and tencel once dyed. I’m guessing that the weave structure will be dominant here, visually speaking, but it will be interesting to dye it and find out!
I am almost done weaving up the fabric that I intend to use as samples for the Fine Threads group (I’ll dye it once I’ve figured out what I’m doing), and after that will play with woven imagery + differential dyeing. I created a draft of paw prints that I think will make for interesting results. Again, I expect the woven pattern to be dominant, but some interesting things can be done in the background!
I have actually created a matrix of things I want to try, which is too detailed to include here, but basically there are five variables:
- amount of contrast between the colors used in fiber-reactive dye;
- amount of contrast between the colors used in acid dye;
- amount of contrast in the woven pattern (well blended, or areas of mostly tencel and areas of mostly alpaca)
- pattern scale for dyed patterns (small and intricate vs. big blobs)
- pattern scale for woven patterns
So I will be playing with those over the next week or so.
My ultimate goal is creating interesting autumn-leaf designs that I can use in my next project, but that will take considerably more experimentation. Rather than plunge straight into it and try designing it via trial and error, I’m trying to decipher the underlying “rules” that will allow me to design effectively.
And, finally, I am doing some additional stitched shibori work for my workshop. I’m using the twill weave (because I’ve got miles of it) and will be double-dyeing that as well.