Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mixing Things Up

I’ve been working on some half yard color pieces for the grant project. Unlike the smaller color pieces where I’ve been trying different application techniques using the same resist; in these larger pieces I’m layering different types of resists while using different application techniques. This sometimes leads to interesting surprises.

A couple of years ago I “happened upon” salt resist. You might say it was a “happy accident”. I had started out doing the usual salt effect on fabric; painting a wash of color using my Pebeo Setacolor transparent fabric paints and then sprinkling salt on top. I often do this technique as a class demonstration. I had tucked the sample away, not bothering to wash out the salt. As a result, the salt “recrystalized” on the fabric. The salt seemed almost embedded in the fabric and the crystals shown like a layer of transparent frost. I decided to paint another color wash of the transparent paint to see what would happen. To my surprise, the salt resisted the paint in a beautiful speckled pattern. I then intentionally misted a piece of fabric and sprinkled salt, let it recrystalize, wiped off the excess salt and painted a wash of color. The salt again resisted the paint in that wonderful speckling effect. I tried overprinting the recrystalized salt with Pebeo Setacolor opaque fabric paints and the effect was even more pronounced.

For this half yard of silk, I decided to try another experiment. What would happen if I did a layer of recrystalized salt, then monoprinted with blue glue gel before doing a color wash? 

I started with a wash of pale orange transparent paint. After that was dry and heat set, I re-wet the fabric with my plant mister and sprinkled on table salt. Once the salt had recrystalized, I applied the blue glue gel. After monoprinting with the glue, I had an "uh-oh" moment. The salt seemed to be leeching the moisture out of the glue and distorting the designs. I was worried that the results were going to be one big mess.

Fabric with recrystalized table salt and blue glue gel monoprints. Notice that the moisture is leeching from the glue designs.

To my surprise (and delight), once the glue had dried and I applied a wash of orange-red transparent fabric paint, the speckling effect appeared in the monoprinted glue designs. I’m looking forward to trying more experiments with these two resists in combination. I think the next experiment will be block printing with the blue glue gel on recrystalized salt.

The fabric after applying the red color wash over the resists. The fabric was heat set and the resists washed out.

You can see the speckling effect of the salt within the glue designs.

A close-up of the speckling effect.

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