Saturday, June 20, 2009

Weekly Textile Construction #9

Weekly TC #9 - Tundra I

I will be posting a wonderful Artist Profile with Carol Taylor on Wednesday but I wanted to do a quick update on my Weekly Textile Construction Project before I got too far behind.

This experiment is one I have been thinking about for some time and a little different from what I have done so far. This project uses a very loose monoprint as the basic technique and then I did a discharge element over the initial print. I do not have photographs of the discharge process but it was simple and I believe you will understand from my description and looking at the completed piece.

I began with a piece of white muslin from Robert Kaufman. It is called Prima. Sadly it has been discontinued. I did not wash or process the fabric in any way. It was cut right off the bolt.

I choose Pro Chem Midnight blue Procion MX dye and mixed 1 or 2 tsp. of dye powder directly into 1/2 cup print paste and stirred. I then added Mixed Alkali to activate the dye. This will remain active for about 4 hours.

I pinned a sheet of medium heavy clear plastic to my print board and poured about 1/4 cup (way too much) of the dye mixture just to the right of center as my intention was to fold the plastic and create a symmetrical pattern. I then folded the plastic and pressed the dye out to make a shape.

Here you can see the dye between the two sides of the folded plastic.

This shows the open plastic. You can see that there is a great deal of dye. ( With this in mind I actually took an impression from this by laying a sheet of plexiglass over it and pressed. Later I printed a piece of fabric from the plexi. ) After removing some of the dye with the plexiglass, I laid one cut of my fabric over the plastic sheet and took an impression by rolling it with a sponge paint roller.

This is the "raw" print before curing. It is nice and strong with interesting markings. Some of the marks are due to the fact that the dye beaded some on the outer edges of the slick plastic. Some of the marks I made with a chop stick. It was hard to get marks to stay as the dye tended to fill back in.

This is how the print looked after washing. I only waited 2 hours before washing. Dye that has been activated with Mixed Alkali seems to attach to the fabric very quickly. I don't have enough experience to know if that is true with all colors. Notice now that the unprinted fabric is light blue. I think this is because there was so much dye that was still active that it attached itself to the fabric even while I was trying to wash it! In the end this was a good accident.
I do not have pictures of the discharge part of the process but this is what I did.

I pinned the dry washed fabric to my print board. I made a discharge paste from monagram and bleach. I painted one side of plexiglass French Curve templates and pressed them onto the fabric and allowed it to discharge. This happens very quickly. The fabric was then rinsed, soaked in Anti-Chlor and dried.

I choose a 12/5" section of the fabric and quilted.


1. Very spontaneous process.
2. Offers lots of potential for experimentation. Will tell you more on this later.
3. Interesting mix of lacy marks and powerful marks.
3. Managed to get about 4 distinct values from one dye mix.
4. Very organic.

I created a post with formulas for the various processes. You can find that under FORMULAS.


  1. I love reading about your processes. I know I have said that before, but it's so fun to "be in the studio" with you. Thanks!

  2. Hi Terry! I just jumped on the blogosphere. How is Blogger at handling your images -- I think I might be overloading my site which doesn't bode well for the future --
    I like your blog, lots of great information.

  3. Hey Miss Heidi! Blogger has handled my images just fine. When you upload images, the upload screen tells you how much storage you have left. At some point I will have to delete some not that is in the future. Glad to have you. I looked at your blog, checked out your links, figured-out it was YOU and totally enjoyed the visit. Terry;)