I’ve just posted my latest piece for the International Quilt Challenge on the blog – late again as usual! Click on the link to read about it.
I regularly read Jenny Dean’s blog, Wild Colour, and her latest post is extremely interesting. She has some intricately hand printed ajrakh fabric from Pakistan and describes how it is accomplished using wood blocks, indigo, madder and various mordants. Amazing….
I have been slowly washing out more of the fabric. In between buying some gorgeous teal coloured boiled wool/viscose fabric and making it into a jacket! More later on that…
I printed this piece of silk with corrugated cardboard (the yellowy bits) and then overprinted with a gocco screen made with the same stamp that I used for the maroon coloured fabric in the last post. I think this one changed the least when I washed it out.
Here is the washed version:
And a detail:
For the next piece, I used these ochres from Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean, and soy milk as a binder, made from soy beans.
This is what it looked like when I painted it.
And here it is washed … I like the way you get more definition in the washed version.
Here it is on my design wall, next to a piece which had been previously rusted dyed and which I overpainted with the ochres, giving some subtle textures.
This one looked the most unpromising when I printed it. I’ve got a feeling I used it as a wiping-up cloth and then screened over the top with the gocco screen made from the image of a letter.
It definitely looks more promising now!
Last week I had a break from washing out fabric and did some dressmaking for a change! I went shopping in Cardiff the previous weekend and bought this gorgeous teal coloured boiled wool fabric from the newly opened John Lewis. This jacket only took a morning to make! I did make a practise version with some green cotton/viscose fabric I had lying around and actually this one was easier to make because the curved seams were a doddle with this stretchy fabric. Also, I didn’t have to hem anything as it is boiled wool and doesn’t fray! It’s super warm and cozy and I’ve already worn it a lot. Which is more than can be said for a lot of my previous dressmaking attempts! I bought the pattern a few years ago meaning to use it with some of my dyed fabrics and I have even more incentive to use it now I’ve made it twice. It’s the swing fever jacket from CNT Pattern Co (no affiliation).
Here we are … some of the fabrics I printed last year and just washed out. I’m rinsing out about three pieces a day so even this is taking time!
I printed this one with a gocco screen. It started out as an eraser which I carved to make a stamp, printed to make a repeating pattern then I scanned it into the computer and enlarged it and printed it out. I then overprinted it with a screen made from a letter. This is the washed out version – it doesn’t actually look much lighter than the original (some of them lost quite a lot of colour). I think this is logwood. Most of these are printed on silk.
This one is a screen made from a photo of a tree. I printed and overprinted it in three colours of natural dyes. This one did wash out quite a lot but I kind of like the subtle effect. This is the unwashed version:
And this is the washed out one. Quite a difference, as you can see. But I quite like it in parts.
This one changed the most. It consists of two screens. One is a gocco screen made from a stamp I carved of a bird’s foot. I printed this one first. Then the second screen is a blank screen with roughly torn masking tape stuck across it – it is supposed to look a bit like cracked mud.
This is the washed out version – I like it more because you can see the bird prints more clearly. The mud cracks are in two or three different shades of brown – this is just a detail of the whole piece.
I don’t think I have a ‘before’ photo of this tree, but it is clay painted using ochres from Clearwell Caves, some caves in the Forest of Dean which are also ancience iron mines. I used soy milk as a binder. The ochres seemed to wash out a lot less than the natural dye extracts I used. It is painted on cotton organdie which is semi transparent so is a bit difficult to photograph.
That’s all I’ve photographed at the moment – more to follow!
Unless you’re a gardening afficionado, the words ‘yummy’ and ‘luscious’ don’t really appear together with the word ‘compost’ but wait till you see this fabric I just rinsed!!
A couple of years ago I bought the DVD Markmaking with Nature from Kimberly Baxter Packwood. Kimberly is extremely knowledgeable about all things related to natural dyeing, and one of them is a technique she calls compost dyeing. I have been intrigued and wanted to try it for a while now, but didn’t get round to it till January. Basically, it involves laying natural dye extracts and other vegetable matter on fabric and shoving it in the compost heap for a while.
Well, it was January, so I left out the compost heap bit, but I did the rest, wrapped it up with a load of natural dye extracts and some banana skins and rolled it up, soaked it in vinegar, nuked it in the microwave to start it off, and left it for 2 months. How about that for self discipline?!! Anyway, yesterday the suspense got too much. I was going to leave it for a while longer given that the weather wasn’t all that warm (it has been inside, not out so it didn’t get TOO cold). And the results were amazing!
I did two pieces, both silk.
This one is a sort of silk crepe. I put a lot of logwood on this, I think, and various other things (I was extremely disorganised and just grabbed handfuls of whatever dye extracts I have).
This shows some of the markings on it.
And this one is a habotai silk scarf. I think I used a lot of madder on this one.
This was the one which had the banana skins rolled in with it. I had to hang it over the chair to photograph it – it was incredibly hard to photograph as the light just bounced off the sheen of the silk.
I’m so glad these turned out well, because I also tried rinsing a thin section of some of the screenprinted fabric and ochre painted fabric that I also did with natural dyes and those were disappointing. I don’t know whether the gum was too thick or whether I just need to leave it a lot longer, but most of the colour washed out of the tiny sample that I did. I may just leave the ochre painted one as most of my art won’t be washed anyway. Time will tell…
When I had my great fabric decorating spree in January, some of my favourite pieces are those I screenprinted with Gocco screens. I used natural dye extracts mixed with gum tragacanth as a print paste/binder.
Continuing the series on mud and footprints, I made a screen of these bird prints. I actually made a tiny stamp from an eraser, printed the back of an envelope with it, and scanned it into the computer. I then made it bigger and made it into a screen.
A close up:
I then stuck torn masking tape over an empty screen and printed over the bird prints:
I’ll be interested to see how these turn out when I wash them. I have to leave them for a few months to batch. The longer the better, really. And I don’t plan to use them for a while so they might as well sit there….
This fabric below was printed first with torn corrugated cardboard, then printed with a couple of screens made of brick patterns.
And this one is a screen of a tree, made from a photograph I took on one of my walks:
I printed the same screen with colours getting gradually darker. I also printed some fabric using the same screen and another screen of a letter.
If you read this in Google Reader or another feed reader, you probably won’t notice that I’ve changed the blog ‘theme’. I changed to this one because it is very easy to alter the way the page looks and I want to try and incorporate my website into the blog so it all looks the same and I think I can do it with this one without messing too much with the code. But if you find anything’s not working for you in your particular browser, do let me know and I’ll try and change it. The header, by the way, is rotating, which means you might see a different picture up there each time you come to the blog! Fun, eh?!!
Before I finish this post, Judy Nolan from the Etsy Boomers Street Team, of which I’m a member, has written a great blog post about the way different people get ideas for their work and capture them. She got lots of us to tell her what we all do and how we all go about things! I think it’s definitely worth reading. You can find it on the Boomers’ blog here.
A few months ago I bought some natural ochres from Clearwell Caves, some old coppermines in the Forest of Dean. I also had some natural dye extracts, so I decided to do some painting with them, using soy milk as a binder. I had fun and just played without thinking too much. And here are the results.
Here they are drying in my workroom. That old clothes horse I found while tidying the boxroom came in useful! (So obviously tidying does have its benefits…
This is the first I did. It’s roughly based on one of my doodles.
Here’s a sort of stylized tree.
I painted this to enhance some rust dyed fabric.
A lot of what I was painted was for textures, to print on or to cut up and use for journals. I thought of printing one of my Gocco house screens on top of this.
This is a sort of brick texture. I printed it using the tip of a sponge brush.
This was overpainted on to some blue fabric.
And this was another ‘texture’ painting. The fabric is quite shiny and it looks quite effective.
Now I have to leave them for a few months to batch, so the colours don’t just wash out. So no guilt about not using them!