The Prism 2019 theme is ‘Fragility’ and knowing just how robust the process of making the felted figures is I really can’t imagine them as fragile. However by combining clay with the fibres on wire would create a fragile form – the fibres being burnt out in the kiln….
I am not a ceramicist! – I did experiment with this technique during my degree but is was rather unsuccessful.
Finding a kiln – could ask the lovely people at Brighton University where they have huge kilns that I used to experiment and the Phoenix centre rent kin space – not as big….. or I could pit fire the pieces myself…..
I make my own soap and have done for over 10 years and I always use it to make felt.
There is nothing quite so good as handmade soap and it can be made in bar or liquid form. There are many great websites and YouTube videos now that recount the history of soap and how to make the stuff – not the melt and pour variety but the cold process method – it’s Chemistry in the Kitchen’!
If you would like to view the my soap course please click on this image:
For the ingredients I can’t find in the supermarket I go to The Soap Kitchen (UK) and there are also plenty of good suppliers on Ebay.
3. Brush painting in strong pink, orange, yellow and green and black procion dye paste. Cured 20 hours
I poured the black dye paste into a silk paint bottle with a fine nib and drew the black outlines of pattern onto the fabric and then added the other colours with a brush. It was very random and I just had to keep going not really knowing what the outcome would be. The main problem I had was to get the black dye paste to flow evenly from the paint bottle. The nib was a little to narrow and I think un-mixed dye particles clogged it easily – a lesson for next time.
The finished design is really experimental and unpolished but I will persevere!
Here are the finished fabrics ready to be made into jackets this week – with some extra embellishment:
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?