Yesterday I completed the first of the Weekly Textile Constructions I plan to do during the next 12 months. I have been inspired to start this project by artist Jeanne Williamson whose work I admire. I have been aware of Jeanne's work for some time but only recently read about her on-going weekly and monthly small art project and the book she authored entitled The Uncommon Quilter. In the book, Jeanne lays out a selection of the mixed media projects she has been making for a number of years. She describes how she makes a small mixed media work each week and explores materials and processes in whole cloth construction.
I believe the first rule of Art is that there are no rules. I have, however, established some guidelines.
1. I will construct one work weekly in a 12" x 12" format.
2. The exploration for the work is totally open. Construction techniques, surface design, and all materials are acceptable.
3. I will adhere to the convention that a quilt must have three layers of some type and have some manner of attachment to each other.
For Textile Construction #1 I choose to test the effectiveness of Soft Scrub to discharge dye from fabric. Soft Scrub is a commercial cleaning agent for sinks etc. and it contains bleach.
I began by cutting an assortment of fabric squares which had been dyed in a variety of colors with MX Reactive dye. The fabric is cotton. The squares were pinned onto a print board and the SS was squeezed and scraped across the surface of the fabric with a plastic scraper. I made no attempt to create a specific pattern other than applying the SS in random spots on each square.
After a few minutes (I did not time this.) I began to see the effect of the discharge. I applied a second application on some pieces with no additional manipulation.
The fabric was rinsed after 20 minutes and soaked in anti-chlor. The anti-chlor stops the chemical reaction of the bleach with the dye. The work was then rewashed, dried and ironed.
Observations on the Process:
1. The Soft Scrub is a very effective discharge agent. Very handy as it is ready anytime.
2. The discharge is fast.
3. A second application of SS was visible and made a second layer if marks.
4. Easy to see that it is possible to create soft edged or hard edged shapes.
5. Some colors discharged more strongly than others.
I selected four of the squares and stitched them into a single unit. This was then layed with a backing, cotton batting and the art layer and quilted together with four colors of thread. Each color was stitched across two of the four squares. The center is stitched every 1/4" and the outside edges are stitched every 1/2". The edges of the work were then zig-zag stitched.
Observations on Textile Construction #1:
1. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the simplicity and hard edges of the squares and the organic nature of the shapes created by the discharge.
2. As I looked at the completed piece I kept thinking of a map. I think it is due to the appearance of the light blue square and the overlaying grid stitching. Looks like a map.
3. I can see someone using SS or some other discharge agent in a very painterly way. It would likely require processing several times.