Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ye Of Little Faith...

Now I'm scrambling to devise more horizontal space so I can do this again.

And again (click photo for a better view). Holy cow. Aside from having this thing taking up so much room in the studio, the flour paste resist I started last week turned out to be a lot of fun and incredibly easy. A little stinky, though... my flour might be out of date, I used an old bag that had been in the pantry for a while.

So, as I mentioned last week- I started with a large but boring piece of hand-dyed fabric. I pinned it to my work surface, which I'd covered with a flannel sheet. Then I whisked together 4 cups of water and 2 cups of plain white flour, adding the flour to the water slowly.

I poured the flour paste onto the fabric and, wearing rubber gloves, moved the paste around gently with my hands until it had covered the fabric. I took a wooden skewer and drew into it. Only a small amount of that seemed to show in the final piece but it's worth exploring further.

Then I set it aside to dry.

It took about 4 days for it to fully dry. Crackling the dried paste was easy... I just unpinned the fabric and gently scrunched it in my hands, a small amount at a time, until the whole thing seemed cracked. I was worried the paste would start flaking off, but it never really did until I wanted it to.

I painted it with Golden fluid acrylic paint in Dioxazine Purple and left it to dry and cure for another four days. I couldn't help but take a peek as that paint was setting, so I popped some of the dried paste off.

Even that little peek made me realize just how well it was going to work. 


My final worry was that the flour paste would never come out. Once again, however, I've been reminded to trust the process. I soaked the fabric this morning in a bucket of cool (tap) water and after about 20 minutes of soaking, I manipulated the fabric gently in my hands. **The paste melted right off.  I spent about 15 minutes making sure it was all removed, then washed the fabric on a soak cycle in my washing machine with a little Synthrapol and ironed it dry. 

I LOVE this technique. I don't know how yet, but I want to find a way to stack large pieces like this to dry so I can do more than one at a time. I'm thinking large masonite planks separated by bricks, or somesuch. Such a stacking system would also help me a ton when I do other large, wet media techniques on paper and fabric. Hmmm... modifications to the wet studio may be necessary.

Happy creating!

** Something worth noting: when I dumped the dirty water out of the bucket during my clean-up, there were a huge amount of undissolved clumps of flour paste in the bottom of the bucket. If I had just upended the bucket into my sink, all that garbage would have wound up in my drain! Please try to remember this when you pour out the water and leave the debris in the bucket. Scoop it out with paper toweling and discard.
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