Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fabric Dyeing Workshop, part III, soy wax batik

Our fabric dyeing workshops continued with an exploration of soy wax batiks. There was an article on this technique in Quilting Arts Magazine, and it highlighted several advantages that the soy wax had over traditional beeswax and paraffin. The most important being it was water soluble, for easy removal when you were finished. I ordered several pounds of soy wax from Dharma Trading Co. for us to share. And searched for used electric frying pans. I decided to pre-wax several pieces of already dyed fabric to get ahead start on the layering. I am glad I did, because the pieces that were already dyed were nicer then the muslin pieces with the white background. I helped set everybody up at Vera's and we used many found objects to dip into the wax. Most notably cookie cutters, empty thread spools, potato mashers, pastry wire blenders, rug grids, and circular items like toilet paper rolls. A first layer of thickened dye was painted over the wax and let to dry, then a second set of wax was either stamped on or areas were painted over with the wax. A 2nd dye color, and a 3rd wax and dye were added. Three layers was the average, though some probably had only two. We also tried painting wax over stencils, printing with carved Balinese wood blocks, and used a glove with small rubber dots on it. The wood blocks clogged up with wax and didn't print very well, and even with water soluble wax they were hard to clean. Removing the wax was an at home project. I layered newspaper and used a hot iron to melt off a lot of the wax, changing newspaper often. It was still a messy process. After removing most of the wax, I put it in the washer and dryer. It came out beautifully soft and had no wax residue. Immediately after removing it from the washer, I wiped out a soft wax ring from the washer drum with paper towel. It came off easy too. I loved the whole look and process of the soy wax batik, and did it the next time we also had a workshop. The only problem the 2nd time was the day was too hot, almost 100' and the wax started to melt when I brushed the dye onto the fabric. Cooler weather the next day allowed me to finish. The soy wax has a lower melting temperature than the beeswax/paraffin and this was good in the electric skillet.

Amy's dyed yarns,
Vera's fabric,
large sheet,
Peggy's sunflowers,
Peggy, Pat,
Marsha's t-shirt,
Fabric drying,
large sheet,
fabric parfaits.

Fabric Dyeing Workshop, part II, discharging

Dyed fabric,
Gracie - shibori,
stenciled T-shirt,

Two of our fabric dyeing workshops have focused on a certain technique. One year we all brought dark t-shirts to discharge the color with bleach. We tied them with rubber bands and string and dropped them in a bucket of bleach and water. Various amounts of time elapsed and we rinsed and put them in a stabilizer to counteract the erosive qualities of the bleach. They came out very nice, with the exceptions of several that had bad placement over the breast area, and Cynde's that stayed in the bleach too long and disintegrated in to long shreds of holey fabric. The underlying color on the black/blue t-shirts varied with the brand, some bleached out grey, orange, rust, or greenish. We also printed with stamps and stencils with "Soft Scrub" as our bleaching agent, these prints were very graphic, we learned that the chlorine evaporates from the paste rather quickly, so you have to use a fresh blob of cleaner. Also that the longer it stays on the whiter it bleaches, so you can get a variety of looks. Cynde also played with Jacquard De-colourant, a product designed to remove color when heat set. She painted through a stencil on a t-shirt, and when the product was dried, she heat set it with an iron. The patterns were beautiful, and we all want to try more of this.

Fabric Dyeing Workshop, 2009 & 2010

Pat, Gracie,
Cynde, Amy

We have spent the last few years, having a two day fabric dyeing workshop every summer at Vera's. After the first year of beginning lessons in mixing dye concentrate, dyeing gradations, three layer parfaits, and color theory, we have been on our own. Vera has offered guidance and expertise, and her wonderful workspace. Her home is on a ranch, up high on a hill with a wonderful view, quiet peacefulness, and warm summer days, sometimes too warm. We have made thickened dye pastes to paint with, mostly working on fat quarters or half yard pieces. We also use the pastes to print on the fabric with a variety of found objects, rug grids, bubble wrap, foam & rubber stamps, stencils, rubbing plates, potato mashers and other kitchen gadgets. She has had us work a number of different methods, wet on wet, wet on dry, with paper resists, mono printing, masking tape, and tie dye. We also tried some tied shibori techniques. Corriene has dyed silk yarns for her weaving, a slightly different method of chemicals. I have dyed cotton yarns in small skeins and a large ball, Cynde and Gracie like doing t-shirts and school clothes. We have learned a lot, at first trying to "paint" something that looked like something. Vera tried to get us to let loose, but we we're very literal minded, abstraction came hard when faced with a blank piece of fabric. She also MADE us paint a color wheel, we resisted at first, but those who did it found it very useful. We have grown as artists, now, we are not as afraid of mixing our colors, of layering techniques, and being abstract.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Roots Challenge

Our second project challenge was to make an art piece with the theme of "Roots." We had some discussion on the theme, some thought it was too similar to the introspection of the self portraits. Others argued that roots had a much broader interpretation than just our family past. A dictionary definition was printed on fabric to hang with our display. The pieces were shown at the Umpqua Valley Quilters' Guild Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Again, we had good participation, deadlines seem to help us all finish our projects, although there were some very last minute finishes.

Art pieces by - Georgia, Maureen, Vera, Sylvia, Sylvia, Peggy, Pat, Kay, Jan, Jana, Gracie, Gracie, Amy, Bonnie, Cynde. Sorry I can't remember who made the first two pieces, let me know.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Challenge - Self Portraits, part II

The remaining photos : Gracie, Georgia, Cynde, Corriene, Bonnie, Amy, Jan

P.S. Gracie's quilted wall hanging won Best of Show, in the Oregon State Fair, 4-H section.

Challenge - Self Portraits

For our next project for the upcoming Umpqua Valley Quilters' Guild, we decided we needed more focus and cohesion, so we chose a theme. We chose to do "Self Portraits" and express ourselves in our textile art. This proved to be a real challenge for some of us. It started some deep thinking and introspection. Also lots of fun, for those of us who did not take it too seriously. A wide range of techniques was used, and we had a large display at the show. We also made a book with artists profiles to go with the display, we each wrote a page about ourselves, and added pictures of our work.

photos: Jana, Kay, Nancy, Maureen, Pat, Peggy, Sylvia, Vera