Tuesday 23 June 2020

Flour paste resist

I have been trying lots of surface design ideas while we've been in lock down. I don't know why, I suppose it's a distraction from everything that is going on.

I followed the instructions in a book called Art Cloth by Jane Dunnewold.

I mixed up a paste of equal parts of plain flour and cold water, 3/4 cup of each.

It was the first time I had ever done it, so I got out a piece of hand dyed fabric, some gelli printed fabric and some commercial fabric as well.

You put the cold water into a bowl and gradually add the flour, mixing it up until it resembles a pancake mixture in consistency, not too thick, not too thin. I used equal quantities of flour and water and used it that way.

I pinned down the fabric to hold it in place. I have a homemade printing board that is slightly padded and I also used a painting canvas that still has its plastic cover on it.

I spread over the flour paste, I didn't know if it was too thin or not but in the end it seemed to work.

Pretty scary looking isn't it?

I left it to dry for 24 hours. It's winter here in Australia so it definitely needed 24 hours to dry.
As it dries it shrinks, shrivels up and becomes very stiff. Luckily, I pinned it or it might have turned into a ball of fabric.

When it is completely dry you bunch up the fabric, creating cracks in the flour paste. In the book there was a warning not to overdo the cracking and in the small pieces I did overdo it, probably because a 6" piece of fabric was easy to scrunch.

After you scrunch it and form the cracks, you paint over it. Many people use dye in this step and then you need to use soda ash to fix it and then when it's dry you have to do all that rinsing to remove the excess dye. I didn't want to do that.

I used Sun Dye paint which is an Australian runny acrylic paint, sort of like Dye na Flow paint. It's heat set so you don't need to rinse it out.

I painted with black mostly and some magenta on a couple of fabrics.

The Sun Dye paint likes the sun especially and we only have a really weak sun at the moment so I left it to dry for 24 hours.

The next day I put the fabrics in a bucket of cold water and rubbed the fabrics together to loosen the flour. That bucket of water ends up very gunky. Apparently, you do not want to pour the gunky fabric down the sink, so I poured it onto the garden.
Then I put the fabrics in another bucket of clean, cold water and they rinsed out very quickly.
To completely clean them, I washed them in the washing machine. You always use cold water with this technique so you don't end up with glue!

I was happy with my results. I think I cracked too much though because when I see what the professionals do, their cracks are very fine and spindlier. The magenta ones were a fail, I must have cracked the flour paste too much because they came out solid magenta, as if the paint had run underneath the flour.

The top photo was only a 6" piece of fabric and I decided to see what happened if I added some green paint over the top.

That worked, so I was very happy with my experiment and think it is something I could use in the future, especially as flour is so safe and user friendly without having to use any chemicals.

Blogger has changed a bit and the settings are different to use, hopefully there won't be any issues.

Bye for now,

Tuesday 16 June 2020

Inspired by Nature Collages

My Inspired by Nature on-line class is finished now, but I have done a couple more paper collages using my painted and gelli printed papers.

Banksia Collage

The above collage is of a Banksia Ericifolia that we have growing in our backyard. I was happy with it until by chance I changed the photo to black and white and realised that I don't have enough value contrast in it. I should have thought of that before I glued it down!

The next collage is of a Grevillea that we also have growing.

Grevillea Collage
I actually had fun making them, but it almost almost seems like I am playing around and not getting anywhere with some new work.

I made myself try out a collage in fabric. I have been painting and gelli printing fabric as well as paper and have never tried to use it.

I decided to use a paper collage that I had already made as a starting point.

Paper collage of gum leaves.

I made it bigger than the paper collage, the fabric one is about A4 size.

Fabric Collage
I enjoyed making it and I really like using my painted and gelli printed fabrics. They almost seem a bit like watercolour to me. I don't know if it was a fluke, but they didn't fray on the edges. Maybe the paint sealed the edges?

That gives me inspiration to keep going and try doing some new work using fabric that I have created. It's a shame that it is winter here now and not so convenient to paint fabrics. Still, I have a couple of ideas running around my head!

Bye for now,

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Working in a Series - June

I am persisting with my circle series this year. I wanted to change the colours though, I was sick of the pink and green.

I got out a slightly different palette one night and left it ready for me to begin the following day. I had decided to stick with the hot pink as before but instead of the yellow green, I went for turquoise and mustard.

The next morning I didn't like the colours as much. I decided to just use the turquoise and add a couple more blues.

I wasn't so keen on the triangle background that I had done last time, I felt that it didn't work well with the circles.

Series 1, no 4

I went back to black and white stripes, but this time I pieced the stripes in the top third differently.

I was going for a group of circles to cover that join in the fabrics.

Series 1, no.5

You can see that I had to add some orange spots, it looked too plain to just use the blues. I actually quite like it. I am surprised that it doesn't look top heavy and out of balance. Maybe all those stripes underneath the circles add some perceived weight!

It's just a fused top, no stitching around the circles or any quilting. It's just a design exercise and I don't want to waste time finishing it off unless I need to.

I wonder how many combinations of circles I will come up with?

Bye for now,