Tag Archives: hand dyed fabric

Spray dyeing

Now with a newly cleaned and freshened studio, I jump back into some work!  When I look at this unfinished sketch, it looks a bit sterile.

2014-08-03 13.37.43

I think some texture would help.  So I apply the spray starch to the stretched silk and let it dry.  I cover the cat with  a torn paper  shape to shield it from the spray.

And since I’ve been working with painted paper lately too, I plan to save the paper for later.

Next I  spray it with some dye from a misting bottle.  And I like the results.  2014-08-03 13.50.05



This spurs me on!  I work on another, with lots of torn paper to  form a stencil.  2014-08-03 15.03.27And the paper itself is interesting.

I’ll save it for later.  The dye penetrates the brown paper, and dyes both sides.

2014-08-03 13.54.53


Salt Resist Technique- Checking the Details

Salt resist on silk

Here’s my salt resist recipe :

One cup Table Salt

Five Cups Boiling Water

I let the salt dissolve, took the pan off the heat, and submerged the painting.  after a few minutes I removed the painting.  Once it had drip dried a bit (and cooled), I hung it to finish drying.

The next day, when it was completely dry, I could see the salt crystals on the fabric.  The photo shows how saturated the painting will be with the resist, with this salt recipe.  So now I am ready to use my stencils and spray bottles with my dye.

Setback! New Steamer isn’t so great….

Silk bundle inside steamerI’ve used this steamer for years- it is coated in teflon, and the inside bottom is scratched and therefore compromised, so I took it from kitchen use and devoted it to studio use.    However, if you let teflon pans boil dry they can release a toxic fume.  Well, I let this one boil dry- it did smell TERRIBLE and I think it made some smoke.  I quickly aired out the house, but decided then and there to get another steamer.

Here’s the new one!  But- I found it doesn’t work as easily as my old one!  And… found out the hard way…

New SteamerAfter steaming my three Winter Tree Series paintings , I found that I had areas that washed out, faded areas, fugitive dyes,and  dye transfers.  Wow.  I rarely had any of these problems before.

I think that the new steamer has more problems with condensation- and also the lighter inside of the pot may not keep the environment as hot.  I’m working now to save these paintings…



Modern Quilt Top Completed- now for the hard part…

Tux loves the quilt top.This week I constructed the modern quilt top I’ve been designing.  Th goal has been to keep it very simple,  using an offset square within a square design, and keeping lots of negative space around the blocks.  I was gifted the wonderful batiks, and I dyed the pink solid fabric.  When I started working on the layout on the floor, of course my cat had to join in. Tux helps design the quilt top...

Here’s the finished quilt top after damp ironing it- on the line outside…Now the next task is to QUILT it… the hard part begins! I’ll link up here at Nina Marie Sayre’s Off the Wall Friday, and check out the other textile artists’ work. Modern Quilt Top on clothesline






“Erasing” with Alcohol

I am in the midst of a series of paintings I call my “Winter Tree Series.”  On this particular drawing, I made a big blotch with some dark  green dye, right where I did NOT want it.  Before the dye dried, I attacked it with some rubbing alcohol.  Erasing dye spot with alcohol

The alcohol loosened the dye spot, and dispersed it.  The dye moved to the edges of the alcohol spot, mostly, though it did lightly dye the whole area.   In order to gain a lightening of the  distracting  dye blotch, I did have to sacrifice control over this portion of the painting.

Drying spot with lightened dye blotch

The area with the alcohol is drying- it will be a darker portion than the rest of the painting in progress.  I will probably choose to paint the sky area a medium grey blue now!  Still, the unwanted dye blotch is gone.  Victory!

Inspired to Risk, A Textile Story

Do you ever have a project that starts with great creative force and then for some reason you stall out?  I certainly have.  This particular project has been quite a journey for me, one of the biggest creative challenges I can ever remember.

Silk quilt in beginning stages

Inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood’s remarkable textile work (specifically her Mod Mood Improvisational Quilts), I embarked on my own improvisational quilt.  Without any money to spend on a new project, and with many many scraps of hand painted silk at my disposal, I gave myself the challenge of creating if from throwoff pieces I already had.

I should have known that to follow Wood down the brave and thoughtful path she takes with her artwork, more thinking, feeling, and understanding world be demanded of my creative process that I have ever delivered before.

After much work, I reached a point with my quilt where I simple could not proceed.  It asked for something from me- but what?

Instead of the warm creative wholeness I would normally feel as I worked on a project, I began to dwell on troubling thoughts, dark emotions, and the persistent question “WHY?”

I put it aside for quilt a while, puzzled and a bit troubled.  Inspiration arrived through Denise Burg ‘s textile work, as I had described in my last post.   Her use of color inspired and moved me in an immediate emotional way.

Anyway- I realized that my quilt needed black- against the bright and joyful colors.  Not just as a cold and formal technical solution.  But as an emotional necessity.  The deeper darker questions that have come up in a creative pursuit- had nowhere to go in this quilt.  Now- they do.

Well, this is not the end of the journey.  Only a step along the way.  Technical issues abound with my quilt!   But I feel that I have been true to the creative process- even as I let go of the probability of a beautiful or worthy conclusion.  Many feelings have come up following this creative path.  I think the worst fear is that of looking foolish.  Or is there another fear underneath?!  This process has been incredible demanding.

In a timely coincidence, Sherri Lynn Wood posted some writings on her blog to exactly this point, even as I have been struggling to understand this process in my version of her Mod Mood quilt.

Thank you, Sherri!

Water Soluble Resist Comparison

So I have recently purchased two new Dupont colors- and a new water based resist.  Not only are the Dupont dyes a challenge to order at the moment, the water based resist that I LOVE is not currently available.  Inspired by how much my old color chart helped me make sense of my studio possibilities, I decided to do a side-by side comparison with colors and resists.

First, let’s do the colors.

I concluded right away that Myrthe # 610  won’t be a favorite. Look at the first leaf shape on the left to see it.  Much too minty-green, it seems to stand out from my usual palette like a sore thumb.  Still, I had not yet paired it side by side with many of my other green dyes.  Now I see that it is vivid, but such a cool green.  Still not a favorite.

Citron # 626, new for me, goes head to head with Helianthe, my big favorite.   The middle yellow leaf is Citron, the flanking ones are Helianthe.   Citron is slightly paler, and cooler.  Yet the intensity is holding its own against Helianthe. A very pretty shade.  Not bad!

Now for the resists.

Wow, I do not have too much to say for Jacquard Water Based Resist.  The leaves and linear work on the right portion are the Jacquard resist.  The ones on the left half are made by Silkpaint resist.  Both were in a squeeze bottle with a medium (.07mm, I think) applicator tip.

The Jacquard resist just cannot make a thin line, not much thinner than 1/8 inch , and is very hard to control. I let it dry until it was not transparent ( it continued to spread quite a bit) and then applied dye.  It absorbed dye at all the edges, giving a furry look.  Had I waited until the next day, I am sure the resist would have been sturdier.  But I do not time my work that way.

In some places, like the lower right, the dye completely absorbed and broke through.  This may not be a completely bad thing- it does give a very pretty layering effect, and looks very much like crackle batik.  But the Jacquard resist usefulness is very limited.

The Silkpaint brand resist line is very thin, though I could control the flow by squeezing the bottle, and get a thicker line.  I waited only a few minutes after applying the resist to dye, and the resist did hold a sturdy line against the dye.  In places, it did  absorb the dye, though not as much as the Jacquard resist.

As far as rinsing the resist away after steaming, both resists washed away easily.  I steamed the piece for 10 minutes in high heat and heavy steam, turned the setting to low heat with steady steam for 25 minutes, and then let it cool in the pot for 10 minutes.  So the resist was exposed to high heat and a long steaming time, but with no ill effects whatsoever.  Rinseability was fine.

I think I will use the Jacquard for broader effects, more splotchy and abstract, than what I usually try with resists.  For linear work I want the Silkpaint resist!  I hope it will become available soon!