Things have been going more slowly than I’d like, but I’ve finished my first set of experiments in surface design. Here they are!
The first piece is an exercise out of Making Your Mark by Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan. I laid down a thick line of different colors, and used a credit card to scrape and swoosh the colors around, mostly diagonally. I really like the visual texture of this fabric. (The photo is with the dyes still on the fabric; I’ll post more photos after wash-out.)
The second piece is another exercise from Making Your Mark, this time scraping the credit card horizontally. I used three colors – turquoise, yellow, and cobalt blue – and roughly mixed them both with clear print paste (to dilute the color) and with each other before scraping the card across the fabric. It produced a wonderfully interesting marbled effect:
(All these photos are before washout; I’ll post more photos after I wash everything out tonight.)
The third piece is also made with a credit card – a cheap way to exercise your card!
Here I was playing with the edge of the card, making thin lines for an edgy, scratchy effect. I played with the idea of creating a focal point in bottom left, using the fuchsia dye.
Next I got into writing. I did one practice piece to get used to writing with a squeeze bottle:
This was fun – it started out blobby but I gradually got more control.
The next piece came out really interesting. I started by drawing lines, curlicues, triangles in various colors, as you can see at the top of the cloth. But I thought they were really boring and repetitive, so I took a credit card, dipped it in orange dye, and scraped it across the bottom of the cloth. (Later I mixed in a bit of rust brown). I like the resulting fabric much better – it has a moody, textured effect punctuated by the lines.
The next piece was an experiment with brush strokes, also out of Making Your Mark. I snipped up a paint brush to make the bristles ragged and irregular, then drew the brush along the fabric in various lines and colors (golden yellow, scarlet, rust). The result was a beautifully textured piece full of dynamic lines. (The yellow-white section to the right is not part of the piece, but an artifact of the light: the piece was partly in shadow, partly in sun, making photographing it difficult. The entire piece is the rusty orange in the left half.
Next I experimented with paint rollers:
Here I was using three rollers. The first, the golden yellow, was a plain one imprinted with hatch marks by rolling it across a textured surface. The second, the scarlet, was a roller compressed tightly with a piece of string, wound tightly along a diagonal, and produced beautiful wavy lines. The third, rust brown and black, was a smaller roller wound randomly with a piece of string. They produced beautiful textures.
I didn’t especially like this piece, so I made a second one, which I’m not sure I like any better – it’s a bit too regular:
That’s it so far! Friday I experimented with soy wax, mostly unsuccessfully. My tjap (tool for printing with hot wax) turns out to be quite tricky to use, and I expect I’ll have to print many throwaway yards of muslin before getting good prints. I’ve set it aside for now, but may come back to it later this weekend My soy wax crayons turned out to make good rubbings, but I wasn’t thrilled with the results. I did learn to draw in hot wax with a tjanting tool – it’s easier than I expected! – but my attempts at coloring the wax mostly ended in failure. It’s OK; I’m just playing around at the moment, getting to know my tools and materials. I have very few expectations, and certainly don’t expect to make masterpieces – mostly I want to get a sense for what kind of marks each tool makes, and how the dyes behave in thin and thick form. Composition and intentional design come later! For this weekend, I’m only playing.
Today I’m planning to mess around with monoprinting. Monoprinting basically consists of putting dye/paint on a flat surface, creating textured designs on that flat surface, and then laying a length of fabric over the surface to transfer the pattern onto the fabric. It’s a great way to build texture. I plan to do a bunch of monoprinting today, going through a lot of fabric – that will give me a good textured base on which to layer subsequent techniques, like thermofax printing, discharge paste, and various water-soluble resists. I am also seriously tempted to do some fish prints – prints made by painting fabric paint over a fish (yes, an actual fish, from a fish-monger) and then laying cloth over the fish. It’s astonishing how cool this looks – I tried it ten years or so ago, with wonderful results.
Wow! I didn’t feel like I got a lot done in the last two days, but it looks like I did. 🙂
I’ve also sewn up a muslin for the dress, but I need to get Sharon’s help with it – it doesn’t look quite right. Fortunately, she’s coming over tomorrow to play with dyes, so I can (hopefully) pick her brains then.