From “Fugly” to “Has Potential”
This piece was some of the fugliest fabric I have ever ever ever dyed. It was awful. I had dyed it a green that didn’t turn out nice and overdyed it in a brownish red that just muddied up the green until it looked…it just was fugly.
So while I am fooling around with surface design again, trying to get back into the swing of it, this seemed like a good piece to work with. It couldn’t get any worse!
I started with deconstructed screen printing. This was a new-to-me technique that I now really like. The process is to mix up some print paste (urea, thickener, water) and add in some dye. Then create your screen — I used some plastic artist rubbing material, put it under the screen and pulled the dye paste over it. This created an imprint on the screen, which I then let dry overnight. This is what it looked like.
Then I put the screen on the fabric and pulled screen paste (print past with soda ash mixed in) across it. The first prints come out dark and clear, then fade and muddy up as you continue screening. So I was moving all over the fabric with the screen and just that first step was a huge improvement.
Then I went in with some thermofax screens and printed the maple seeds in brown, and some flowers in a golden yellow with thickened dye. I am not completely happy with how the flowers came out but that’s no big deal. And finally I went in with a leaf stamp and stamped it up with some green thickened dye.
When using these types of techniques, I would normally batch this by steaming. Since this was the only piece I was working on, I went ahead with a washout instead. The only problem I had with the washout was that some of the brown migrated. But that actually made the fabric a bit better!
I really enjoyed playing around with this. I don’t think anyone would say this fabric is beautiful. But it definitely has potential!