Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Leaving white space is tricky

I was planning to leave some parts of the fabric unpainted (except for bleed), but it is just so much fun to splash color on there, that I forgot. I did a pretty good job keeping the colors from going muddy on the first dying, but on the second I was not as careful. I think if that white space had been there, I'd have managed it. Maybe. I also got some dark smudges in my first dying, I think by having a big blob of pigment on my brush when I first started to paint. I'm not sure that's what did it, but I was more careful on the second go, and I think I didn't add any new smudges. So, I'm getting better at it, but still working.






I'm still happy with my diatoms. Nice little beasties.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

If at first it seems to work, dye dye again

I added another layer of purple paint to my diatoms and stuck the stencils down on top for another go. I think layering that dotty diatom on top of itself (bottom image on the left) might have been a bit much, but the process was definitely a success.


Now I can make a veritable sludge pool of microbiological beasties, though I'm still shooting for cleaner colors. On that note, I made another layer on my yellow and pink test run, as well.
You can see in the top right where the yellow is on top of a blue/pink mix. It makes a bright but muddy color, if such a think makes sense. Even the yellow on top of the pink loses some of its lushness. I'm not sure I don't like it that way, though I would like to be able to control when I get muck and when I get clarity. Yellow on yellow worked nicely.

For my next trick, I will paint the fabric, without stencils, leaving some white. Then I will paint over with the same colors and add diatoms.

Sun dying results

Here are my first diatoms on fabric.


I'm so excited about the stencils! Now I'm ready to learn to put some texture and depth into the background. I did make one discovery: the colors do better if they blend by them selves on the edges. When I paint one color over another, I get a blend, but it is muddier. (Though I admit that might be because the blue I'm using has some black in it). For example, on the test patch below, I did not overlap the yellow and the pink. They bled into each other at the edges, but I tried not to brush one over the other. These are the brightest colors I've managed so far. On the diatoms, I used only purple paint, not mixed with other colors.

I think I need to buy more colors!

I'm dying!

I'm sun dying again. Here is a blog showing the process: LuAnn Kessi's Blog

In my last dying experiment, I laser printed an image onto an overhead projector, acetate slide, and pinned it to my fabric. I was hoping the printed image would mask the sun, but the slide itself would let the sunlight through. In fact the slide masked the sun, and created a very crisp rectangle, as the paint pooled a little around the edges. The vinyl also gave a very crisp image, but it is hard to reuse the vinly, since it rolls up and sticks to itself when you peel it off. So I thought I'd try making some stencils out of acetate, which I can rinse off and reuse.

I drew some diatoms (What's a diatom? Artist Ernst Haeckel) using Adobe Illustrator, and cut them out of acetate using my plotter cutter. They are now sitting in the sun, and I'm writing this entry partly to keep myself from watching the paint dry. Here's an image of my stencils.
I hope it works! One great thing about the plotter cutter is that I can always cut the images out of vinyl, which I know will work for sun dying, so there will certainly be some diatom fabric in my future.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Fabric! Do I need a new hobby?

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I spent some time playing with stencils.
My blog post about using
stencils and stamps to make this fish
I loved the effects and sharpness of the images I got, but I didn't love working on paper that much. I didn't really have any finished product that I wanted to make out of paper. Somewhere along the line, Gwen suggested I use fabric instead. I didn't know much about fabric paint (which remains true), and I ignored her.

Recently, though, I came across a blog post (or 20) about using Setacolor transparent fabric dye to sun print. The paints were not too expensive, so I ordered a few (from http://www.dharmatrading.com/ ) to give it a try. I ordered the transparent paints for sun dying, and a set of metalic paints with hopes of using them in the stencils that I make like I did with the stamping ink.

This morning, I gave it a shot. Some of my experiments worked not at all, and some of them were OK. This fish came out well enough to prompt me to share. I had already drawn the image from the paper projects you see above. I cut the stencil from self adhesive vinyl. Then I painted on wet fabric with the paints. The vinyl did not stick to the wet fabric, but stuck itself down once the fabric dried. Even without the adhesive working, it sat pretty well on the wet fabric. I painted on the fabric through the stencil to add shadows in the right places, which I could not effectively do on the paper stencils.

The vinyl worked fabulously to screen the sun. Too well, really, as none of the background color took at all, except that drip that might have happened before I even started working on that piece. After the fabric was dry, I brought it in and used my stamps and some make-up cotton swabs to apply the gold and metallic purple paint through the still stuck stencil. I was able to get some of the shading effects that I got with the inks on paper, and I think with a little practice, I could do much with it. I might be able to do some shading on dry fabric with the transparent paint as well.

Here he is! Fabric Fish, take 1.