Monday, February 4, 2013

Marbling fabric - fun times in the studio

Having survived 3 bouts with the flu this winter, and needing something to motivate me to slog through the accumulated chores and mail, I promised myself a play day in the studio.  I got the last stack of papers sorted and filed, and Karen Dedrickson and I spent several hours in her studio last week, doing some basic marbling.  She took a half day workshop in it several years ago but I have never done this before so this was our chance to see if all the ancient materials we had both accumulated over the years would work and if we liked it enough to do more.  Karen works on paper, usually with sumi ink, and does these fabulous & amazing birds so she was working with black ink and her rice papers.  I brought various fabrics to try out and two types of fabric paint.  We had a fun time, learned that we need to learn more and generated some pretty samples.  There will be more days like this in the near future.

So, on to the details.  First, I used the setacolor paints I have.  They are really nice for doing color washes on fabrics and I have a lot of different colors, so I thought I'd give them a try.  First, I used some organza that I have that is backed with paper and prepared to accept inkjet inks.  Here's how it looked with the backing paper still attached.  The white blobby spots are air bubbles from my lack of experience in putting the fabric on top of the tray of goo (technically called size) with the paints floated on top.

And here's how it looked after the backing paper came off.  I put a piece of white paper behind it offset from the edge a bit.  My scanners lid is black so it looks very different depending on the backing.

Then I tried some habatoi with no paper backing.  I got the colors on to the size pretty well but forgot to do the combing and pulling to make it more than just blobs of color.  Altho the blobs can make some interesting designs if the colors are layered in an interesting way.  The habatoi is somewhat light in weight and the paint is transparent rather than opaque so this piece came out fairly pale.

And the last piece with the setacolor paints was a piece of inkjet ready silk.  Since it was a leftover bit, I'm not really sure what weight it was.  It came out the best of the setacolor ones, both in color and patterning.  Experience counts, I guess.

Next, I moved on to try the neopaque paints.  I have fewer colors in these but they are opaque and heavier.  I found they just sank right away in their out of the jar thickness.  So, I added some water, and tried some different methods of applying them and got some good colors.  This was a piece of the habatoi used above and the colors were nice and vivid and I'm starting to get the hang of the patterning.

I was still having problems with the paint sinking.  The troubleshooting guides we found said that either the size was too thin or the paint was too thick.  I didn't really think I could thin the paint much thinner than I had it so I did one piece of cotton, a white on white print, to clean off the remaining paint from the size, and here's how that turned out.  The little hints of reddish color are actually a metallic rust paint but it was particularly bad about sinking fast so not much of it showed up.  This piece is mostly to show that cotton does take the paints well.  One of the books I've been reading about marbling said that silk was the best fabric to use but I'm not sure I'd agree with that.

We had a fun day and got some good ideas about where to go from here.  We spent yesterday in my studio trying out some of our ideas and I'll be reporting on that day later this week.