Summer used to be a time to await the Good Humor ice cream truck and scrape Japanese beetles off rose bushes into milk bottles. (Yes, I’m that old.) Now it’s a time to use fabric coloring products that are messy and need good ventilation, which means an open garage.
So far this summer I’ve used up last summer’s old dyes (stored in the beer refrigerator,) made spray paint with Inktense color blocks, and used place mats as stencils. Some things went right and others went wrong. You just don’t know until you do the work.
The dyeing results were unexpected, as I confused my jars of alum and soda ash, and soaked my fabrics in alum. So, the results were rather pastel though I was using red. In fact, the only vivid colors were on silk and my hands. I should note I was overdyeing fabric.
Videos of different ways to use Derwent Inktense blocks inspired me to experiment. First, I used this video to make spray paint with shavings of the blocks shaken up with water. Using a plastic place mat as my stencil, I sprayed with two colors onto Pellon 830.
Then, I used the spray paint covered place mat to stamp onto another piece of the non-woven fabric. The runniness in some areas was caused by my attempt to see if matte gel medium would darken the colors. It didn’t, but it did make the color run.
Through related Inktense links I found a video for inking stamps with the blocks. Actually, you wet a side of a block with water and rub it over the stamp. As you can see, some colors worked better than others on fabric scraps. The bit on the left is another Inktense spray experiment.
Finally, I tried out what Target called a charger as a stencil. It seems to be made of plastic coated cord that’s woven into a circle.
I used a Marabu fabric spray paint in brown and leftover Ranger spray inks. As you can see, I found the sprays were a bit clogged and I didn’t get a consistent spray on the Pellon non-woven fabric.
I also sprayed onto silk scraps and some kind of semi-sheer curtain fabric. Here the fabrics made the colors bleed, while the nonwoven fabric just sucked them up. And that’s why you experiment before the actual project.
My last fabric lab project will be monoprinting, I hope. I have the supplies, but need to find the right combination of weather and time.
I’ve linked this post to Off-the-Wall Fridays.
6 responses to “The Fabric Lab Is Open”
So interesting. I really like the experiments with the circle charger, and the differences between the woven and non-woven material. Also the floral/leaf stampings, very delicate and feminine, perfect for some project. Thanks as always for sharing your process.
I’ve been trying to write about failure as well as success with my work, figuring someone should benefit from my goofs. Also, others may know the reasons why something didn’t work.
It was neat to read about and see your fabric experimentation results. I can imagine some of those pieces ending up in your art/quilts. What I love about surface design on fabric is the not really knowing how it will turn out and fun of just experimenting!
Experimentation is quite seductive. I could spend all my time on that and forget about actually making quilts.
Some really lovely fabrics.
You are kind to say that. I think some are ugly ducklings awaiting swanification.