Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weekly Textile Construction #27

About a year ago I attempted to make a resist using mashed potato flakes. It turned out to be so effective that after it dried I attempted to crackle the surface, applied dye, washed the fabric the next day only to find a mostly white piece of fabric. The resist has resisted too well. It was just too much trouble to try again at the time and I moved on.

I have been think a great deal about surface for the past 6 months so this week I decided to attempt this process again but substituted flour for the potato flakes and had a much better experience.

Click here for formulas.

I applied this paste (all of it) to a dry unwashed piece of PFD fabric. The fabric was about 20" x 20" and had been pinned to a ridgid board I use for surface design. The full batch of paste barely covered the surface. The fabric soaked up the moisture from the paste so I had to work fast and not much time to move the paste around once it was spread. Once I had moved it around as much as I could I used the end of a plastic spoon and drew into the still wet paste.

Full view of design drawn into the paste. Notice the thin spots at the bottom.

Detain of the paste with the design applied.

It was warm that day so this dried quickly. Once dry, I mixed a concentrated dye solution of about 5 TBsp of Black dye powder with 1/2 cup water (more or less). Then I put 3 Tbsp of this mixture into 1/2 cup of print paste. Click here for these formulas.

This dye mixture was brushed onto the face of the fabric and left overnight to dry.

Looks like an awlful mess but the next day I sat it out in the sun to dry.

Here it is on it's board sitting on the hood of my car.

Within a few hours it was nice and dry. I folded it up and put it on a baking sheet and heated it in the over for 5 minutes at 200 degrees. You should never eat this thought. Would give you a bad tummy ache.

From the oven it went into a bucket of water to soak for about 15 minutes. I then used a plastic scraper and scraped as much of the dried paste off the surface as possible then gave it a really good hand washing before throwing it into the washing machine.

Amazing! What a super resist. I am really happy with the results. You can see where the thin spots of paste were but I think that gives it character.

Detail of washed surface.

I have been thinking about new ways to treat my work so I decided to sew this directly to a piece of black canvas which I did. I used a sort of pink/beige thread.

I'm not finished stitching but wanted to share with you as it is now. I plan to throw it into the washing machine when I finish stitching to see how that impacts the look of the piece.

Detail of top edge.

Now this is something I can explore.


  1. I was interested to read and follow your resist process. I have heard of using a flour/water resist before. It's good because the consistency can be altered and can have a similar effect as batik. Your dyed fabric piece and each of your photographs of the stages are wonderful and I loved the stitched piece

    Carolyn ♥

  2. Looks wonderful, especially when quilted!

  3. Very cool....thanks for sharing

    Mary Manahan

  4. Thanks for the recipes. I will let you know my success in using them!

  5. I love this technique and have not used it enough over the years. You have a wonderful piece of cloth there.

  6. Now, after looking at your results, i will give it another try. To be honest, where I live, putting anything on the hood of my car would result in the addition of bird droppings. Don't think I'll risk it - LOL. I'd have to use a hair dryer. Love your cloth!

  7. Uh - Terry -- I guess you're not finished with this image yet. Look!

  8. Rayna, I started working with this image a couple of months ago in various ways and I am definitely not finished. By the way, I'm surprised the squirrels didn't come and nibble on the flour paste but it could happen. Thanks to all for commenting. Terry

  9. So cool! Thanks for sharing. Now I just need to get busy!