Friday, February 12, 2010

Deconstructed Screen Printing

I really put the new wet studio through its paces this week with a lengthy session of DSP. This is a process that takes me a long time to prepare for, execute and complete. I'm hoping that with practice I can streamline the whole operation but in the meantime, it's still a week-long event. (This post isn't going to be a tutorial on this process, but for really excellent information on DSP and how to achieve it, I recommend watching any videos by Kerr Grabowski, the Mother of DSP, or reading Rayna Gillman's book, Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth.)

On Monday morning, I began my prep work. I cut, pre-washed, soda-soaked, drip-dried and ironed the cotton muslin I'd be using, including some extra scraps of muslin. The scraps would catch monoprints of the materials I use to give texture and character to the screens (more on those in a minute).

I mixed and thickened my dye colors...

... prepared my screens and the items I'd be using to create the texture on them...


... laid out extra soda-soaked scraps to catch monoprints...


... and used my favorite trick for making more horizontal working space: I covered over one of my husband's giant lawn and leaf garbage cans with a huge piece of three-ply cardboard covered in plastic. (In this photo, it's also covered with my dying drop cloth- previously soaked in soda ask, of course)...

 

(When I need even more space, I place a second piece of cardboard, cut to size, on top of the laundry sink.)

In the past, I've had difficulty setting the dyes on my DSP work because they dry too quickly, so this time in addition to pre-soda soaking my fabrics, I also borrowed a tip that artist Rayna Gillman offered over on the Dyer's List: I used water already mixed with soda ash to make my clear print paste.

Finally, I flooded my screens with thickened dyes, and upended them on plastic cups to let them dry overnight.

After I've used the bubble wrap, craft paper and other items to flood my screens with dyes, I turn them over onto prepared fabric and gently rub until the dye on them has been transferred to the fabric below.

 
  

Bright and early Tuesday morning, I was back at it and worked throughout the day to discharge all four screens onto my prepared fabric. 

 

I'm trying to work larger than I used to, so two of the fabric pieces were quite large, measuring about 39" x  54". The other four pieces were half that size.



A couple of the screens had enough interest left in them before scrubbing them out, that I screen printed with the last of my thickened dyes onto a couple of large sheets of white paper.


 

These were so much fun that suddenly, I can see myself doing a series on JUST paper soon.

As I mentioned, I've had a lot of difficulty getting the dyes to set when I DSP and it's frustrating to watch all my time and effort wash down the drain in the first rinse. As well as taking the double precaution of adding soda ash to both the fabric and the print paste, I also let the fabrics both batch over night and get a good, long steaming on the stove. 



My results were not bad and I've learned as much this session about improving this process for myself as I did the first few times I tried it. 
 
  
  
  
 

After several weeks of non-stop work, it's time to take a small break. This weekend my husband and I have a 4-day staycation planned during which we will sleep in, watch the Olympics and eat more than we should. We'll also be keeping warm and dry.

Hope you are doing the same. Happy creating!

15 comments:

Michele/TextileTraveler said...

Looks like fun, and what wonderful fabrics you ended up with! I think you have the right idea--set everything up and devote a solid block of time to this. Have fun on your "staycation"!

Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

Wow! Nice session! I do like your work area... I have limited space for wet work, but still want to get back and try DSP... maybe when the snow melts!

Suzanne Morgan said...

This is something I have wanted to try for a long time. Thanks for taking the time to document what you do, the results are stunning!

Anonymous said...

I agree - a lot of prep for this technique. I made a lot of print boards (doubled cardboard covered with acrylic felt then covered with clear tablecloth plastic) and lay them everywhere to dry. It's not a messy technique really. I generally work in short sessions. Put the dye on screens one evening, print from one the next evening, print from another the third evening. Do a big wash up on another evening. No need for a solid block of time if you can leave stuff sitting around somewhere - which is luxury for some people I know. You have a lovely space for it.

Robbie said...

Judi, these turned out great! DSP is so addicting! If we can have about 10 screens made up it would be a perfect day!! I like how you used the process on your paper too. I usually try to squeeze the last print on my fabric. Now you gave me a good idea to use that print on paper! Thanks (again!).

Unknown said...

oh, oh
something I've never even heard of that takes up lots of space & time
I MUST try it!

I'm looking forward to seeing what you make with all these pretty fabrics

LynnDel said...

Love it!

Quilt or Dye said...

Thank you so much for your tutorials! I have been putting together a book of tutorials and recipes from blogs (For my own private use and always with credit to the authors. I just don't want to lose track of where/what the information is!) Anyway, many of the tutorials are yours! You just do such a spectacular job! Maybe I should dedicate a quilt to your honor.

Eva said...

I don't think I could do this kind of work, seems such a bother, but it is worth it, the results are really stunning.

Rayna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen S said...

What fun! I wish I had a wet "studio" like yours!

elle said...

YIKES, Judi! A week AND the kitchen! LOL oh well, nothing ventuterd not much gained. I'm thinking I sorta, kinda, maybe, follow your excellent look into the wet room. I expect I need to commit to a week and a try. Thanks for sharing!

Gina said...

Great results! And seeing your process I certainly appreciate all the work involved to create these beauties!

Enjoy your staycation!!!

Unknown said...

I'm sitting here very jealous of your time DSPing. I'm in the process of putting my studio to bed for the summer. I too have been batching and then steaming when I DSP and think that it makes a huge difference. One of your pieces look like one I did, must be the color, I think that it's turquoise. Your space to work in looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

HI, I picked up a bamboo steamer 2nd hand - looks like I need one more layer - mine has only 2. I'll work on that, but could you please give some information about use of the bamboo steamer? Times, method, etc.(I'm assuming you use Procion dyes?) I'm just back from a beginners workshop, where our tutor had a long steamer welded up by someone and fabric rolled on to a long roller (interspersed with steaming cloth). I can't manage that, so need to be steamign some other way. I'd be grateful for info, particularly on how to avoid condensation dripping back onto fabric, which our tutor said was a big non-no. I am reading your blog bit by bit as time permits - can I say THANK YOU for what you share ... most grateful! Sirtdyeah