Saturday, May 8, 2010

No, THIS One!

The flour paste resist fun rolls on!

As you know, I started with this piece of cotton sateen that had been LWI dyed, parfait-style, with eight other lengths of the same sateen. Not particularly thrilled with the result, I overdyed it once more in lemon yellow and then covered it with a flour paste resist. (If you've never heard of a FPR before, or aren't sure how to use one, scroll to the bottom of this post for a brief explanation.)

An odd thing happened with this FPR, though. I have previously used both Golden Fluid acrylics and thinned Neopaque to achieve my crackle finishes but this time I wanted to use thickened fiber reactive dye, so after completing the last wash out of the yellow overdye, I soaked the fabric in soda ash and allowed it to drip dry before applying the flour paste. But as the FPR soaked into the fabric, yellow dye began to leech out. Bleck.

Either I hadn't rinsed and then washed the fabric well enough after the second dye bath and as a result, I hadn't gotten out all of the excess dye particles, or for some odd reason, the flour paste reacted with the soda ash present in the fibers. I'm guessing the problem was the former rather than the latter, though. I'm usually very particular about making sure my dyes are totally rinsed out, but I dropped the ball this time.

Fortunately, it didn't seem to effect my final results.

After the FPR had dried (which took two days, not the one I had predicted), I crumpled it carefully. I mixed fresh black dye, Urea and more soda ash solution into SuperClear, a pre-mixed thickening agent sold by Dharma Trading which is used to thicken dyes for direct (painting) application. While I had found the SuperClear to be too thin for monoprinting, it was ideal for this application, which needed to be more soupy than thick. It got slathered on in a careful and slow process that I've begun to find very relaxing in a Zen-like way.

I covered it and let it batch for four hours.

I washed out the FPR in a large bucket of cold water and after that it was treated to the same series of rinses and machine washings as all my other hand-dyeds.

(entire piece, 90" x 45")

Pretty spectacular. If I had my druthers, it wouldn't have quite as much crackling as it does, I guess I got a little carried away with crumpling the fabric, but still a very striking piece that I hope will help jury me into Blurred Boundaries

There will likely be one more huge FPR in my immediate future because there's something else I want to try with it before I turn all my focus to stitching my newest Fringe piece.

This crackle piece...

... is still curing and has not been washed out, yet. That will happen on Tuesday and then I'll be able to see how that piece turned out, as well. I'll post photos when I have them.

Lots more monoprinting done this week with dyes, too... they're in the washing machine right now and if any of those are interesting, I'll post about them, too, next week.

Also, this little piece is under the needle this week... can't imagine why I thought it would help me knock down my stash of scraps- it didn't even make a dent!

All these fabrics, including the backing fabric and batting, were hand-dyed, painted and batik'd by me.


It's about 24" x 18" or so, though I haven't measured it, yet. I'll post more about it when it's finished being stitched. In the meantime, happy creating!

***To briefly recap, a FPR is plain white baking flour, mixed slowly with cold water to form a paste of pancake batter consistency.  Fabric is pinned to a secure surface (I prefer something slightly absorbent, like an old sheet, but you could do it on plastic sheeting, as well.) The FPR is poured slowly onto the fabric and moved around, either with your hands or with a plastic trowel, until it covers the fabric. It is allowed to dry completely (you really want it bone dry for this), gently crumpled in the hands to create cracking and crazing in the hardened paste, and finally, painted over with your favorite pigment like thinned acrylic paint, textile paint, dye-na-flow or fabric dye (note: if you use dye, I recommend pre-soaking your fabric in soda ash and adding soda ash solution to your chemical water.)

The paste behaves as a resist, blocking most of the pigment from reaching the fabric, but allowing some of it to seep through the cracks, leaving a startling crackle finish.
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