As the name suggests, the origin of tattoos goes back to indigenous tribes in the Bronze Age, which was about 5000 years ago. In fact the word “tattoo” derives from the word “tatau” in Polynesian. All of the people living on Marquesan island in Polynesia were tattooed. They regarded the tattooed symbols as a form of language. In this particular culture the images were usually inspired by animals. For example, shark teeth represented protection, and shells meant wealth. Other common symbols included turtles, fish hooks, and lizards. Due to the early origins of this style of tattooing, no one is really sure exactly how it was first developed. Some theorize that it was likely an accident that led to the first tribal tattoo.
Tribal tattooing was not just a physical adornment. It was also part of a tribes spirituality. There were three major factors that took the practice of tribal tattooing from being purely art to being a spiritual symbol as well: Pain, Permanence and Loss of the Life Source (blood). This mystical trio elevated the tattoo from mere art and transformed it into an opportunity to draw people into a relationship with God.
Because body and soul were generally thought to be identical to one another, your tattoos then existed on both the physical and spiritual planes.
While meanings vary from culture to culture and time period to time period, there are many similarities across these cultures and times.
I have joined the Make it in design Summer School 2017. The course is a fun series of briefs focused on experimenting with new patterns ideas and techniques for surface patterns designers.
Week 1 Brief
Your brief is to design a mystical, tribal inspired
pattern using the following prompts:
Be inspired by the supernatural, geometry, astronomy, magic, nature, minerals and the cosmic to create your pattern
Think about dark symbols, landspaces, the cosmos, flower mandalas, fractals, geometric shapes, symmetry and symbols
Key words that attract me:
Circular designs symbolizing the belief that life is never-ending. A Mandala represents wholeness, and is an apparent shape in life, the earth, moon and sun
Representations of life, fecundity, ritual, war, protection, communication
Textile patterns – carpets and cultural clothing
A fractal is a never-ending pattern. They are created by repeating a simple process or pattern over and over.
Shell, flowers, ferns, crystals
Precision and repetition
Repetition, movement and symbolism are key points for the design development that I will start today! More later next week – deadline 9th August so I’m gathering my pens, pencils and geometry kit and heading to my studio!
Islamic Geometric Patterns 12 May 2008 by by Eric Broug
Viking Language 1 Learn Old Norse, Runes, and Icelandic Sagas: Volume 1 (Viking Language Series) by Jesse L. Byock
Actually two dyeing days as I spent the first day experimenting with dye colours and techniques on small samples of white cotton fabric that had been pre-soaked in a solution of soda ash for 3 hours.
I am very lucky to have a great assistant for a few days – Carmen is a fashion photography student who is doing 20 hours work experience with me and her work is included in the following sample images.
Lino printing – with a thickened procion dye paste
Brush painting with both liquid procion dye and paste
Combining the two techniques
Dye samples covered with clingfilm to prevent drying and left to cure over night – 18 hours
The results are interesting as I have never used dyes like this before and, although the samples are rather rough and ready, there is potential. The lino print is not as good as I hoped – some lines are indistinct as it is difficult to apply the dye paste evenly. I find using a brush is the best method as it gives me better control over the dye placement than with a roller.
So tomorrow I will jump in to this wonderful world of colour and dye 6 meters of beautiful Ottoman Rib Viscose/cotton fabric to make three colourful fabrics for jackets:
Plain colour – a strong pink mixing a little scarlet not magenta dye powder
Shibori tie dye with indigo procion dye
Brush designs in three – four colours with Ikat patterns in mind.
I have been making Lino prints ready to experiment printing on fabric with procion dyes with inspiration from Ikat woven fabric and Ottoman textile design
I have used fabric paints in the past however as these are pigment based the prints are stiff and change the nature and drape of the fabric. Dyes are permanent and do not affect the hand.
Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate) – to fix the dye
Urea – increases the brightness and intensity of dyes
Sodium Alginate – to thicken the dye mixture to a print consistency
Procion dyes – I will start with 4 colours – magenta, royal blue and lemon yellow and black. With this selection I should be able to mix many different colours and tones.
Synthrasol – to remove any trace of dye in the final wash
Safety: face mask, rubber gloves and heavy apron
Table – lined with cardboard and topped with a plastic cover
Large plastic jug
Glass jars to store the thickened dye
Prepared sticker for the fabric pieces
Pre soak the fabric – I have bought fabric that is already prepared for dyeing and will soak this in a Soda Ash solution over night
Mix 3/4 cup Soda ash with 7 Litres water in a large bucket and stir until the soda has dissolved. Then add half the fabric and leave to soak.
Wring out the fabric and then spin in the washing machine to remove excess water. The fabric must remain wet for dyeing.
2. Mix the dye base for 1.5 metres fabric:
Put on the face mask, gloves and apron
Mix together in a large plastic jug:
4 cups warm water
3/4 cup urea
1 tbsp sodium alginate
Mix well with a whisk as the mixture blends and thickens. Divided the paste base into 4 glass jars.
3. Prepare the fabric
As I am experimenting at this stage I will cut the pre-soaked fabric and unsoaked fabric into 20cm squares and lay them across the prepared table.
4. Mixing the dyes
Face mask, gloves and apron on
Add 4 teaspoon of soda ash to the paste base and mix in well
Measure out 1/2 teaspoon of dye powder into a glass jar and add 1-2 teaspoons of water and mix to a paste – it is important not to add too much water and to mix the dye very well so that it has all been dissolved. Unmixed particles of dye will cause streaking on the fabric.
Repeat this process with the other 3 dye colours.
N.b. Once the dye has been mixed with the soda ash in the dye mixture the dye will have short shelf life – maximum 4 hours so my experiment will have to be completed in that time
Use a soak and unsoaked piece of fabric for each experiment. First label the fabric with:
S – soaked
US – unsoaked
Comments in log book
a. Lino print
b. Brush strokes – wide and fine
c. Water colour – spraying extra water on the fabric to see how the paste behaves
e. Printing with a range of shapes – leaves, pasta etc
Leave 1/3 fabric pieces on the table for 90 minutes before washing.
Leave 1/3 fabric pieces on the table covered lightly with cling film for 4 hours before washing.
Leave 1/3 fabric pieces on the table covered lightly with cling film over night for about 16 hours+ before washing.
Finally rinse out the fabric in cold water until the water runs clear and then wash with Synthrapol to remove any last traces of dye.
Does pre soaking the fabric make a difference to the final colour and design and colourfastness?
I have never used procion dyes before and have decided to dye and print my fabric for a range of jackets with an Asian ottoman theme.
Researching I have found some good tips for using dyes thickened with sodium alginate to paint or print onto fabric by Alyson Provax
Alyson Provax – printmaker and experimental dyer in Portland, Oregon. Her prints are available through Uprise Art, and her work will be shown in Variable States: Prints Now at Upfor Gallery in Portland this spring. Find her at alysonprovax.com
Why a separate site to blog and chat? – well for exactly that reason! I wanted a place to put my work in progress, research notes, links and other things that I hope will be interesting to read!
This week I have finished a new design that as an A2 print will bring life, colour and energy to any space. The design is inspired by Turkish ceramic jugs and plates – so I though I would show you how I set about drawing and designing this piece.
I began with lines on paper – curves that intersect and create movement on the page. Plates in a variety of sizes make the perfect templates.
I use marker pens and especially love Promarkers. Choosing a colour palette is important – orange, blue, green (dark and mint) and cinnamon make great visual music!
With lines in place and overlaid with black marker and colours chosen I was ready to start doodling. I had a general plan in mind however usually the patterns tend to flow as the design grows
The finished design ready to be scanned and sent for Giclee printing!
This print is for sale at my Etsy shop – please click on the logo if you would like to be directed to the site: