Monday, April 20, 2009

Textile Construction #2

Committing to make a small study every week is powerful. As soon as I completed TC #1 I began thinking about #2 which propelled me right into the studio to start work.

I decided to continue to explore Soft Scrub used as a discharge agent and see if I could get a stronger "image". I plundered through some of my truly awful discarded fabrics to find something to work with. Now you may be asking why I would look in the discard bag of things I consider ugly but I have had interesting experiences doing that. "Ugly" is a topic I will cover another day.

I found a piece of fabric that I had already processed twice. The fabric had originally been dyed a light tan and later I had tried a dye technique in response to an online video I found at Committed to Cloth which is the website of British artists Leslie Morgan & Claire Been. The name of the video is Creative Cloth Dying and demonstrates how dye can be applied and scrapped across fabric to create pattern. I had tried this technique on the tan fabric using medium green dye and while it worked, it was not attractive. It went in the "ugly" sack.

Now for a third try. I cut a section of the fabric and pinned it to my print board. I decided to mimic the way I had applied the green dye, long soft lines, but using SS. As soon as I applied the SS I used a bondo scraper and drug the discharge in one direction. The SS has been put into a squeeze bottle so I can apply smaller beads of the material. It works fast and you can see the results immediately. I repeated this pattern across the entire fabric. You can see the results in photo #2

After only a few minute I rinsed the fabric in hot water, soaked it in anti-chlor to stop the bleaching action, washed a second time with synthropol, then dried and ironed.

Observations on Process:

1. The SS is a very effective discharge agent
2. The discharge is fast
3. Unless you do some preliminary testing you could be surprised with the discharged color
4. Anything you can dye/paint/print you can discharge

The resulting pattern had a distinctive landscape reference. It looked like rolling hills and mountains with trees but I wasn't interested in that look. I turned the piece 90 degrees which allowed the undulating pattern to appear stronger. In this photo you can see the landscape reference.

Looking at the fabric you can see several colors in different values. The whitish areas are where the SS took the color back to the original color of the fabric. The tan is the original color I dyed the fabric. The darkest green is the first application of green dye and the green yellow color is the color of the discharged green.

I decided to do some intense stitching with rayon thread in hues similar to what I saw in the fabric but a little darker or lighter to bring out the overlapping shapes. After quilting, the piece was squared and zig-zagged around the edge.

I am surprised and pleased with the results. The surface is rich and textured and the color fresh and original, not what I would normally select. I see great potential for exploration with this process and I will continue for at least one more week.

Observations on Textile Construction #2:

1. Textured stitching very effective.
2. Quilting lines function both as line and texture
3. Limited palette worked well

Confession. This piece is 14/5" x 14.5" rather than the 12" x 12" I had planned. After I started the quilting I could see that the composition would be ruined if I made it smaller. Remember, no rules, just guidelines.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a cool effect. I haven't tried this as a discharging agent, but definitely will now. It makes perfect sense to use, given the consistency of SS. Thanks for sharing your experiments with us!