Figures in ceramics – work in progress

 

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….

Problems:

  • 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…..

Chris Dunn – great teacher

First attempt 22.10.18

Looks good – shows potential however the clay cracked on drying and on further research realise that I should use a paper clay…

As I have already bought a large slab of stone ware clay and a pot of slip I need a recipe!

Next… paper clay making!

 

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Making fab soap for felting

Chemistry in the kitchen

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.

Enjoy!!

 

Prism 2018 Hoxton Arches Gallery

One of the best Prism exhibitions!

‘TRANSIENT’

A selection of artworks from the exhibition

My submissions

Life dance

Comprised of 28 small figurative felt sculptures.

I use the wet felt method to create these little figures

Exploring the Senses

Two large figurative sculptures suspended

Both pieces together in the gallery

My art work is for sale and I also welcome commissions.

Please contact me for further information.

Molly

Tunbridge Wells Artisans

Tunbridge Wells Artisans!

A new and exciting Arts and Crafts venue is opening in Tunbridge Wells, Kent on 17th November 2017 – just in time for Christmas.

The Stables, at the The George pub at the top of Mount Ephraim is a beautiful old building and perfect to host local artists and craftsmen!

 

I have booked my gallery space amongst the beams and rafters and there are still a couple of gallery spaces left – so check out the website!

Tunbridge Wells Artisans

 

3 Jackets

I have been experimenting with hand dyeing and painting fabric and the fabric I have chosen for this development is a beautiful ottoman rib viscose/cotton fabric.

The fabric has behaved beautifully during the dyeing processes and has been a joy to make into garments.

So to recap:

Three dye techniques:

  1. Shibori kimono

A simple kimono design – medium size 14 -16 UK

Shibori pattern – 2 metres ready to cut the pattern pieces.

Kimono pattern:

Kimono pattern

 

2. Ikat design jacket

A short boxy jacket with machine stitched ribs

I made the fabric into a short boxy jacket – size 14/16. Great with black dress or trousers or team with jeans for a BOHO look!

3. Shocking pink jacket

Hand painted twice with a rich, deep pink dye I have used this lovely fabric to make a kaftan style jacket with some shaping at the waist  with set in sleeves and lined.

To embellish the plain fabric I cut sections of gold embroidery from an old Zari sari and have stitched it down one side of the front.

See examples on my Etsy shop

To my dyeing day No.2!!

Two metres of wide fabric is a lot to dye!!

  1. The first piece is very deep pink – all over liquid procion dye applied with a wide brush. I left the fabric covered with plastic sheet over night to get a really saturated colour.
  2. Shibori dyed with liquid indigo coloured procion dye. Cured 22 hours

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:

To my dyeing day No. 1!

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.

Techniques:

  • 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:

  1. Plain colour – a strong pink mixing a little scarlet not magenta dye powder
  2. Shibori tie dye with indigo procion dye
  3. Brush designs in three – four colours with Ikat patterns in mind.

References

Shibori

Dye painting

Ikat

Fabric printing project – preparation

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.

Chemical ingredients

  • Soda Ash (Sodium Carbonate) – to fix the dye
  • Water
  • 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

Equipment

  • Safety: face mask, rubber gloves and heavy apron
  • Table – lined with cardboard and topped with a plastic cover
  • Large plastic jug
  • Large bucket
  • Plastic spoons
  • Wooden spoons
  • Glass jars to store the thickened dye
  • Paint brushes
  • Rollers
  • Lino prints
  • Prepared sticker for the fabric pieces
  • Log book
  • Camera
  1. 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

Experiments

Use a soak and unsoaked piece of fabric for each experiment. First label the fabric with:

  • S – soaked
  • US – unsoaked
  • Technique
  • Start time
  • Completion time
  • Comments in log book

Techniques

  • a. Lino print
  • b. Brush strokes – wide and fine
  • c. Water colour – spraying extra water on the fabric to see how the paste behaves
  • d. Stencilling
  • e. Printing with a range of shapes – leaves, pasta etc

Finishing

  1. Leave 1/3 fabric pieces on the table for 90 minutes before washing.
  2. Leave 1/3 fabric pieces on the table covered lightly with cling film for 4 hours before washing.
  3. 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.

Questions

  • Does pre soaking the fabric make a difference to the final colour and design and colourfastness?
  • Which printing method is most effective?
  • Which colours look best with a white background?
  • Which colour combinations work?
  • Which techniques work well together?

References:

Books

How to dye your own fabric
Margo Price, Andrew Moore