Sunday, April 18, 2010

No, THIS One Is My Favorite!

I love it when I make a good piece of fabric, and for the moment, that fabric is my "all-time favorite". This week, I have a new favorite.

To recap, this piece of jar-dyed cotton:


... was introduced to this flour paste resist: 


The humidity is high here now almost all of the time, but because of that, the new AC unit in the wet studio has been running non-stop and this piece of fabric dried in just two days. It was unpinned and carefully crumpled by hand.

Then came the really fun part. I wanted to do something different with this resist and instead of adding color in the form of thickened dyes or textile paints, I wanted to remove color.

Since discharge paste needs ironing to be activated, and because ironing a piece of fabric with flour paste resist still on it would probably make it smell like burnt toast, I decided to thicken some bleach and paint that on, instead.

I had my Bleach Stop all ready to go in a large bin of water, and had added sodium alginate to a pot of bleach... but then I just sat there, scared of what I was about to do! I had doubts; would the bleached crackle even show up? (Yes.) Would it react badly with the flour? (No, not at all.) Was the bleach too thin and would it lift too much color and leave behind huge ugly patches? (Nope and nope.)

I took a deep breath and painted on the bleach. I kept checking the underside of the fabric to make sure I wasn't lifting too much color and when I was satisfied, I submerged it into the Bleach Stop and agitated for 15 minutes (as per the package directions). By the time I had manipulated the fabric in the Bleach Stop, most of the flour paste resist had melted away, as well, so into the washing machine it went.

I didn't know until I'd ironed the piece how successful it had been. Since the full-sized photo of it doesn't really show the crackle effect (it's subtle but extends across the entire piece of fabric), I'll show you the detail shots, first.

And this is a shot of the entire piece.


This piece of cotton sateen measures one and a half yards long by 44" wide. The thread count is 150 x 80 and the hand is soft, silky and has amazing drape. This piece is a winner, in my very humble opinion, and it will be sent off with my entry into one of the two art fabric contests I'm entering in the next few weeks.

(Thank you, Terry, for your encouragement with this piece of fabric.)

More fabric awaits a frenzy of surface design in the next two weeks. The first entry is due between May 1st and May 15th, a very small window. I want to be sure that my entry is packaged and ready to ship by April 29th and sent on the 30th.

I hope the coming week finds you healthy and inspired to make art. Happy creating!
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