March 07, 2009

Banff - Day 7

Yesterday I experimented with the deconstructed screen method of printing. We are using Procion MX dyes thickened with sodium alginate. To start you take a blank silk screen. You paint on different colours of the thickened dye and can lay textured items into it, then let the screen dry overnight.

The next morning, after removing the texture items, you lay out your fabric and squeegee more colours of thickened dye through the screen. The layer of paste that was originally dried on gradually disintegrates and blend into the new colours you apply. It is a quick way to get very complex combinations, and a lot of fun because it is not something you can control.

Here are pictures of the cloth during the process:

This photo shows the brightness of the colours after the material has batched (cured) overnight. Lovely and vibrant.

This shows the colours after I have rinsed out the excess dyes and hung to dry.

This shows the colours on the finished piece. Fabric is always lighter when it is dry but we are thinking that the dyes are not staying as bright as they could because of (1) the hardness of the water in Banff and (2) the temperatures are not being kept warm enough. But then again, that is one of the things I like about dyeing is that you never know exactly what you will end up with (there are people who follow exact formulas to repeat batch after batch and always have the same product but for our work we are not that interested in perfection.)

These are close ups of the fabric (when wet).

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