Fabrics and threads
For the fabrics and threads in this chapter, I used Procion MX dyes in colours which I mixed to suit my colour scheme. The colours used were: lemon yellow 8MXG and turquoise MXG (to make various hues of lime green) and magenta red MXB and ultramarine (to make various hues of violet).
I used a mixture of cotton and silk ready-to-dye fabrics which I obtained from Kraftkolour. The fabrics were: cotton shirting, habutai 10 momme, tissue silk (chiffon) 3.5 momme, and I also bought some mulberry silk tops, some habutai ribbon and pongee silk string.
I had various threads in my collection which were potentially useful in terms of my colour scheme, but also bought some machine threads (silk, cotton, rayon and polyester). Because I wanted to dye some threads, I also bought a couple of skeins of Oliver Twists Silk One-Offs in a natural (off-white) colour, and used some white pearl cotton in the dye bath.
There were various things in my collection – herringbone tape (which went into the dye bath), enamelled copper wire, purls, metallic twists, beads, and I bought some undyed wooden beads as well, to paint. Image 1 (dyed one colour and then overdyed) show how the beads turned out. Because they were varnished (it’s impossible to buy raw timber beads) I figured it might make sense to use glass paint, and this worked, although the beads tend to stick together.
I used the method in Dyeing in Plastic Bags by Helen Deighan to dye my fabrics and threads. This made it much easier than the dye pot method I used for Module 2, and produced much more saturated colours in my dyed fabrics. Image 2 shows a bird’s eye view of some of my fabrics and threads drying on the airer, and image 3 shows the finished, washed and ironed fabrics in batches of analogous hues of both my colours. Interestingly, the cotton fabrics tended to take up the blue elements of the mixed dyes more than the silk fabrics.
I tried both the dip dyeing and random dyeing techniques. Image 4 shows work in progress.
The lower left photograph shows the silk tops brewing. I’m planning to make some silk paper from these later on.
Image 5 shows dip-dyed and random dyed fabrics and threads drying on the airer, and image 6, some of these pieces after washing (with Synthrapol) and ironing.
The dyed threads and silk tops are shown in Image 7, and Image 8 shows them sorted out and wound on dolly pegs (to keep them out of trouble), together with some hanks of dyed silk string. The violet silk tops look like boysenberry ripple ice cream.
Image 9 shows other threads withdrawn from stock, or purchased.
Monoprinting onto fabrics
To make monoprints on fabric, I used acrylic paints mixed with Liquitex fabric medium. The method I used was as for Chapter 2, and the prints very obviously belong to the same family as the prints on paper. It is, though, quite challenging to lower the fabric onto the gelli plate without smudging the print or ending up with the fabric hanging halfway off the plate. As with the paper prints, I cut stencils from paper – the process is shown in image 10.
Images 11 to 17 show the other monoprinted fabrics.