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From “Fugly” to “Has Potential”

Possibilities

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.

screen with imprint

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!

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Extreme Makeover

handpainted fabric

This is a length of fabric that I painted a few years ago.  (Please forgive the poor photography.)I have never used it for a couple of different reasons.  First, even though I treated it with an industrial fabric softener, I have never really liked the hand of the fabric after painting.  Second, I was painting two layers at a time, with this being the top layer.  It’s just not that attractive.  It’s ok, but the bottom layer is really much nicer.

Since I am starting to play around with surface design again, it seemed like a good time to drag this piece out and give it a makeover.  So I laid it out on my kitchen table, as seen above, and started in.  I screen printed, I stenciled, I screen printed more, and had a great time with it all.  Because this was already painted, with no dye, all the surface design was done with fabric paint.

And this is what happened…

Extremely Made Over

Much more interesting!  Not exactly a work of art, but definitely more interesting.  And most important, I had a lot of fun doing it!