Friday, 17 August 2012

Three months of play

Wow, three months have flown by without me! I never really enjoy winter and I certainly don’t find it a hugely productive time. Everything just seems harder to achieve at this time of year. Although, it hasn’t been a total waste either.

Since I was last here, I’ve been doing more breakdown printing. I really enjoy this process and I feel I’m getting the hang of it now. These two below show the prepared screen before it was printed and then the resulting fabric, each about 2m x 1.4m.

Painted Screen
This screen was painted with a sponge brush, stamped with various circular objects like cotton reels, cups and circular sections of bubble wrap, and painted with a sponge brush in asterisks. 
Printed Fabric



The fabric really shows the breakdown process, with the distinctive circles being the last elements to break down on the left hand side.

The second screen was painted in uneven coloured stripes and then I drew an overall swirling pattern with a syringe.

Painted Screen
These thick swirls formed a strong resist at first (left hand side) and then began slowly to break down, yielding the same pattern in red. 
Printed fabric
I particularly like these fabrics because the breakdown process is so clear. In each case, the result is a fabric that I can see working well for a quilt, since they are each like three related fabrics.

The above screens broke down pretty much as you’d expect. However, some screens haven’t behaved the way I expected. Several screens simply would not break down, no matter how much we printed from them. I’m not sure if this was a function of moist weather and the consequent slow drying, being dried with a hair dryer, a longer delay between preparing screens and printing, slightly higher levels of urea in the chemical water or, most likely, a weird combination of any of these factors.

These three fabrics were printed from one of these Magic Pudding screens, painted by Tricia Smith. Each is only about ½ metre but I like the way they work together, almost like different colourways in a commercial fabric.



I also printed a silk scarf with a partly exhausted screen, and I absolutely adore the results! It’s become my favourite scarf.
The only disadvantage of the process is that it produces large quantities of printed fabric. My collection of breakdown printed fabrics is now quite extensive and it’s hard to work fast enough to take them a step further, into art pieces. Some are fairly ordinary pieces, so I’m beginning to experiment with discharging some of them. The results so far have been promising - stay tuned for more photos.

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