Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rusted fabric

Rusted white cotton jersey knit using crumpled
steel wool.

This past weekend I experimented with rusting fabric.  I used a heavy white cotton jersey.  I crumpled and pulled out pieces of steel wool (without soap) and sprinkled them on the sprayed fabric.  I covered the steel wool/fabric with another layer of fabric and sprayed it with more 50/50 vinegar/water, then covered it with black plastic.  I left it overnight (6pm to about 7am this next morning).  For some reason I didn't pull it apart but covered it back up and left it until late afternoon by which time it probably had gone farther than what I wanted but it still looked wonderful.  On another piece I put large round pieces of rust (from my old van...) which didn't do anything.  My friend Lou Wolf (mentioned in earlier posts with indigo shibori) said I was supposed to weigh it all down with something heavy which may be why the large pieces didn't do anything.  Crumpled steel wool seem to do well in either case.

I used mint tea leaves to continue the experiment (below) to achieve some irregular dark dots.  I did a previous experiment a couple of years ago on rusted white linen with well used wet green tea leaves (on dry fabric as I remember) and got gorgeous dots and splotches.  More experiments to do!

Rusted cotton knit sprayed with vinegar/water solution
and then sprinkled with mint tea leaves for dark dots.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Deconstructed Screen Printing, Part 1

The black stripes on screen prior to
printing the fabric.  So simple and I got
13 or 15 prints of the fabric. 
Black striped fabric on a heavy white
cotton knit.

I spent 3 weeks at the end of September doing deconstructed screen printing after not doing it for 5 years (took Kerr Grabowski's workshop with SDA in Detroit in March 2008) so I spent a lot of time trying to decipher my copious notes and reacquainting myself with Kerr's handouts.  It took me at least a day to find "my path" and what I wanted to print, the colors (love pink too much...), and how to achieve it.

Almost all of these fabric samples are on cotton or rayon knits.  I use knits almost exclusively for my tall, freestanding one-of-a-kind dolls, such as the Pisces Woman (see previous posts of Pisces Women using deconstructed screen printed knits).  I love printing and painting on knits because they already are cushy and usually don't need to be tacked down (only the jersey knits which tend to roll at the edges).  

Also, I use ALL (and I mean all ) of the dye that's on the screen so there's nothing left.  I go back into other prints that seem to be too blank or lacking pattern and use up all the dye from whatever screen I'm using.  This creates multiple possibilities that you can't get from one screen.  I put dye patterns/images on all of the screen I have (6 or 7?) and then go through and use them all up.  Isn't the first image a gas!!  It's on white rayon knit with multiple screens: leftover black stripes, black dots, fuchsia and orange painting.

Unfortunately, I should have done a trial steaming or batching on the very first group.  Batching doesn't seem too work well for me since nowhere in my house or even in my car do I get a constant 70 degrees for 12-24 hours.  I did put the first batch in my van's back (benches always are removed) but of course I had to use the van the next day and had to remove the boards with the plastic covered fabric.  

I did try the oven "steaming" method which worked very well:  Preheated at 285 degrees; pan of very hot tap water in the bottom; cotton fabric encased in pellon envelopes and rolled into a loose spiral; "baked" for 30 mins., unrolled and rerolled as well as turn up side down, and "baked" for another 30 mins.  (Thank you, Holly Brachmann for all the information in your "Surface Designer's Handbook.")  Very little dye was lost and this was the last of the black striped fabric.  On the steamed black stripes (galvanized metal garbage can steamer with propane heater below), the washed fabric on some of them did get wet at the bottom and lost lots of dye (maybe not the steaming; maybe I forgot the activator in the release paste since I didn't soda soak the fabrics).  These black striped fabrics actually turned dark purple (or was that from the reddish navy dye...).  As you can tell this was definitely not scientific in any way.  I do wish I had taken images of the first screens and kept track of what worked when.  Oh well, I have a HUGE pile of fabric now and I love all of it.

Pre-resisted crystal pattern (acrylic paint on screen) with
fuchsia dye on indigo dyed lavender-blue knit.
Pre-resisted spirals (acrylic paint on screen) with black dye
on indigo dyed cotton knit.
Orange-red texture from bubble-wrap with
yellow on white rayon knit.
Black dots on indigo dyed turquoise striped knit.