Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New Flour Paste Formula



Some time ago I did a couple of pieces using Flour Paste as a resist. I loved the results but the paste itself was difficult to apply and the window for application was very short. You can see those results Here. Next I tried a Potato Resist which also gave good results but I found it just seemed unnecessarily messy to apply, especially if you wanted to spread it to a large area.


Both of these resists give interesting results so I was interested when I read an article on my friend Judi Hurwitt's blog. Judi has been experimenting with this paste and gave the formula in a recent article so I decided to give it a test.

Judi's formula is: 2 cups water to 1 cup flour. Whisk these together and apply.

I like to work large so I laid out a piece of fabric that was 45" x 45" expecting to use part if not all. In light of this, I doubled the amounts of water and flour to:

4 cups water
to
2 cups flour

The ingredients blended together nicely but I felt it was too watery so I added additional flour until it was like thin pancake batter. I estimate that I added 1 additional cup.

The fabric had been soda soaked and dried and was then pinned to a fabric covered support board. I applied the paste to the fabric by pouring across a width of about half the fabric and then spread it with my trusty bondo scraper. Working my way across and down the fabric, this amount of paste covered an area of 29" x 45". Because the paste is so fluid it would be possible to mix and continue to cover your fabric if you choose to do so.

This mixture was a pleasure to spread. It is easy to create thick and thin areas and I could see that the fabric underneath was already absorbing the water from the resist so I knew it would dry quickly. After the paste was applied I used a chopstick as a drawing tool and drew into the paste. As predicted, it was drying fast and I worked quickly to make my marks. It is not an issue of not being able to continue to draw into the paste but it does start pulling up off the fabric as it dries more.




Marks in wet resist



Marks in wet resist




Marks in wet resist

I left this in an unheated studio with a fan positioned to aid the drying and by the next day it was dry to the touch. I did leave it until the afternoon before I applied dye. The surface is really beautiful. It is smooth and leathery where there were no marks and a great ivory color. There was only a small amount of crazing so I did scrunch the fabric up some to add cracks.

I mixed a medium shade of moss green and thickened it with print paste. This was brushed onto the surface. The application on this surface was much easier than onto my first flour resist piece.




Thickened dye applied to dried resist.




Thickened dye applied to dried resist.



Thickened dye applied to dried resist.


Again, this dried very quickly. It took only about 24 hours to dry. I did check the back to see how the dye had penetrated the surface and decided to pick off some of the flour resist and apply more dye. In the final piece you can see some larger areas of the green and these are the areas I opened for more dye absorption.

I only waited 4 hours before removing the resist and dye. I loved the surface on the piece and would have just left the paste on if possible. At this point I am not sure if I will add more color to the fabric, try to finish the piece as a whole cloth composition or cut it into pieces to be used in other compositions. I will definitely use this resist again and this study proved that experimentation is often required to get a mixture adjusted to a usable state.

Thank you for stopping by and I love to hear your comments. Please, if you try this resist , let me know how it works for you.

15 comments:

  1. Looks great! I vote for making five more, same size, and sewing them all together. Huge is good.

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  2. Fantastic! I love this delish piece of fabric, can't wait to see how you will stitch into it!

    Humidity plays a real factor, I think, in the flour-to-water ratio and also, of course, in the drying time. I mix flour into the water until, like you, I get pancake batter consistency and it pours easily onto the fabric.

    Perhaps I need to pin my fabric directly to a piece of plastic, too. I've been using an old flannel sheet under my fabric, pinning it directly to that. But it usually takes 4 days for mine to dry and I think it's partly because the sheet absorbs all that liquid and holds onto it.

    I can't wait to get back into the studio. Very inspiring work, Terry, thanks for posting about it! It makes my mouth water a little. ;)

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  3. Fabulous, Terry! Thanks so much for your blow-to-blow description of the process, plus all the informative photos. I've just put flour on my shopping list for this week!

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  4. Thanks to all. It is a very interesting process and there is room for much much more experimentation.

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  5. Very inspiring piece Terry. The marks you made are wonderful, and I love the mossy green color.

    I think I might try my hand at this tomorrow. Nice to have a handy resist in the kitchen cuboard.

    -leslie

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  6. Really like this. Your piece is great. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Nice. Now I wish I could attend your workshop in Michigan this summer!

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  8. Thank you Christine. This is a very interesting process with much potential.

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  9. Thanks for the update! I plan to try the technique once I get good enough weather to do it outside.

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  10. Please let me know how it goes. Yes, this is the time to start working with this as it will dry very quickly if not applied too heavy. As someone who I bet loves surface, you will have a hard time taking the resist off as it is beautiful in and of itself.

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  11. I found the resist to be quite interesting, too, from a design standpoint; it gave the fabric a whole other feel and weight I found strangely pleasing. I also found it difficult to remove for that reason alone, but knowing the beauty that lay underneath was good motivation for soaking it all off. ;)

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  12. Making your own fabrics must be satisfying. The process sounds fun! I love what you're coming up with and can see this process would add richness to any work.

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  13. Thank you Shayla. There are many exciting processes and I am working to find the one that feels most right to me and allows me to totally merge my thinking with the fabric.

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  14. I'm curious about how you may have cured the dye after it was applied over the resist. Did you remove the resist by hand after everything was dried and then cure the dyed fabric? or did you allow everything to dry and then cured?

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  15. The dye was allowed to cure at air temperature as it was already warm here. The flour was dried before the dye was applied and removed by hand at the same time the dye was removed. The dried flour is beautiful and I hated to remove it.

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