How I did it!

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. It is very encouraging! A few of you have asked how I did the screenprinting. Well, apart from telling you to buy Leslie and Claire’s book, here is a bit of a guide! I’m not really sure how it happens but here goes!

This is the photo of the screen which I published last week. I have put dye on it in three colours, thickened with print paste, in different amounts on the screen. Then I pressed various things into it to make a sort of texture.

screen with lots of dye on it and all sorts of strange things pressed into it

I left that till it was completely dry (took about 3 days) and took the objects out of it. It then had dried on dye (thickened) in varying depths. I then screenprinted through it, first with clear printpaste (using sodium alginate which is a thickener) and then with thickened dyes as it broke down.

The dry dye on the screen gradually dissolved and went through on to the fabric – the thinner areas first (like the bits which had had the objects pressed into them, and areas I had left thin) so the thicker dye on the screen acted like a resist and stopped the dye paste going through, to make the patterns. Gradually the rest broke down, all the time adding dye to the fabric, but also making the patterns.

I hope this is a bit clear – it still sounds fairly unclear to me but then I’m not sure how exactly it happens. It just does!! When I used the thickened dyes, they went through the screen where there was no dried on dye left, and some of the dried on dye dissolved also and left another colour. Duh. My brain hurts…..


I forgot to add this to my previous post. Should I do anything else to my screenprinted fabric? Add more layers, more depth? More dyeing, discharging…. not sure. I’d have to be careful what colour I used if I did overdye anything. Any thoughts?

The Screenprinting Results!

I’m pleased with the results. I got a lot done from the one screen, more than I was expecting. The first piece was fairly light because the dyes had only just started to break down. I overlapped the printing deliberately to fill the fabric and get a random effect.

red, green, blue fabric with patterns on

Here is a detailed shot. Some of the parts are quite delicately patterned.

detail of above

This is the next piece of printing which has deeper colours. By the way, with these two pieces I was just printing with print paste and the colours were coming from the dried dye colours on the screen.

another screenprinted fabric in same colour scheme

Here is the next one. I have started to use some thickened dyes in the same colours (red and blue mainly) and there is more getting through the screen because the dried on dye has broken down quite a lot.

another screenprinted fabric

And a detail:

detail of above fabric

The last one – this is mainly print paste being screened on with very little image left. I think the colours blurred a bit more because I ran out of plastic to roll it in and just scrunched it into a plastic bag to cure! But that’s okay. I used red and green print paste this time.

red and green screenprint

And finally, a detail:

detail of above

More dyed fabric

Leanne asked me how I dyed these fabrics. I used Procion MX dyes and most of the fabric I had soaked in soda ash and dried last week, to help the dyes be more concentrated and hopefully stronger colours. I usually just soak them on the day and add the dyes to the wet fabric but I was preparing the fabric for screenprinting so I decided to do extra. I pleated them in the cat litter trays and sort of scrunched up the ends so they fitted. Then I prepared the dye solutions and chucked them over the fabric… I moved it round a bit to mingle the colours… then I left it for 24 hours to cure.

Here are some more. I had some blue dye left over from doing some stamping and rolling dyes on fabric (I’ll take a photo of that one later) so I just chucked it in a jam jar, pushed in some fabric and chucked some more dye on top. Here is the result. It’s darker than the photo.

blue fabric

While I was doing the cat litter dyeing, I thought there was rather a lot of dye sloshing around the bottom so I chucked in some silk which I had bought in France a couple of years ago at this brilliant Asian (I think) fabric shop with really cheap fabrics. I was a bit sceptical that it was actually silk because it was so cheap, and a lot of those fabrics are described as silk but are actually polyester, but this one definitely was! I didn’t even add any soda ash so it obviously had enough dissolved in the dye solution from the fabric already in there.

four silk fabrics

I also had some scrim which I bought from the Art Van Go stall at Quilts UK last year, so I put that in another cat litter tray with a couple of other pieces. It has taken the dye really well.

orange-brown scrim

I did the screenprinting today. I’m going to leave the fabric 3 days or so to cure (unless I can’t wait that long!) to give the dyes plenty of time to do whatever they do as it is not terribly warm here. I’m hooked! I wish I had a proper huge studio with a sink and an outside and eternal sunshine! (one can dream!!). There I was this afternoon, washing red dye off the screen in the back garden with the garden hose…. goodness knows what the neighbours thought. (“Who’s she murdered now???”)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...