I'm here to ease your pain.
All kidding aside, it's been crazy here with lots of personal issues, but I have managed to have some fun along the way. I have several days worth of blogs stored up, but I thought I would start with a mini-tute on deconstructed screen printing.
My friend, Anita, and I were scheduled to to a demo on deconstructed screen printing for our Fiber Frenzy group. While Anita seems to have a better instinct than I do, and does some wonderful work, we both agree that the BEST way to learn is to buy the DVD from Kerr Grabowski. She knows it all, and is entertaining, too.
But you can get a taste of what fun it is by the following:
Deconstructed screen printing is basically printing the screen twice, first with thickened dye, then with thickened print paste to release the dye. So each print is slightly different from the one before, and you have a whole series of wonderful surprises.
First you soak your fabric (after scouring if need be) in soda ash (1 gallon of water, 9 tbs of soda ash, which is a pool chemical, or you can buy it online at any dye site.) Soak for at least 15 minutes. Dry it on the line, or shower curtain, don't use the dryer, don't iron it or the soda ash may weaken. You need the soda ash to bond the dye to the fabric.
Make the print paste. Use one quart of warm water, 1 tsp of metaphos (a water softener that I didn't have, so didn't use), 1/4 cup of urea and mix all together. You need to put this mixture in a blender (that you don't use for food), and as it's agitating, gradually add 2 1/2 tbs of sodium alginate (or more, as you'll find out). Let it sit at least an hour, better overnight. It lasts for about 6 months. My best advice (discovery) is that if you put it back in the blender the next day to check for thickness, if you turn the blender on and the top of the paste doesn't move, it's thick enough. If you're still getting some swirling and blending, add some more sodium alginate (seaweed).
Then make your print paste using dry MX procion dyes, mixed with a little water to make a paste, then add your clear print paste. Use normal precautions when mixing dye (a mask for your nose and mouth, gloves, water nearby to wash up any dry particles that land).
Now you're ready. I used two vinyl covered foam core boards. On the first, I put a piece of paper (the kind that movers use.) Kerr G recommends brown paper, but I used what I had. I arranged my objects until they were pleasing to me and fit under the screen I was using.
Lesson learned: use flat objects of about the same thickness, thicker ones will just look like blobs.
This was actually my last layout, and my fvorite. I layered everything over a piece of bubble wrap (what would we do without bubble wrap?!)
And it all fits nicely under the screen.
I'll show you later all of my prints, but first I want to show you what happens when the print paste is not thick enough:
I added a stamp for some interest, but it wasn't interesting enough. These things will not be thrown out, but will be perfect (wishful thinking?) for some project that will come along.
So we thickened the paste and went back the next day, and then then the next. It was too much fun, everything was already out, so we just kept on.
One of the things we did was make monoprints off the paper after the original dye paste pass was done. Here's one of mine:
I also saved some of the background papers for a collage someday.
I had two screens the first day, but then went home and made two more for the third day. When you get ready to print on your fabric, you need to have a fairly soft surface (as for stamping), so I used a second vinyl-covered foam core board and pinned the fabric to it.
But here are some of the screens and prints I made over those few days:
You need to let the screen completely dry before you can print with the dye. Fans and hair dryers are a great help, or let them dry overnight. For this one I used indigo dye and here's how the prints came out:
These aren't exactly in the right order, but you can see how each print changes. I got only 4 or 5 "good" prints from each screen, but Anita got as many as 13! I think she layered her dye print paste, maybe two times, then used less clear print paste than I did for each print. A lesson I learned for the next time.
More screens and prints:
This was the print paste dye screen from the layout that I showed you at the beginning of this post. This is how it came out on the screen:
This was how the bubble wrap looked after the dye was applied to the screen:
And these were some of the prints:
I think the one above may just need a little stitching and be good to go. Can you see a little bit of orange in the piece? That was left over from some printing I had done earlier, using orange dye. Even though I had washed the lace and metal piece, some of the orange still came through. Not sure if you can see it, but it adds a little interest.
I kept going, but many of the others went into my over-dye stack. But here's an example of how each print gets lighter and lighter:
Do you believe there's even more?
But enough for today. I'll show you more later, and also how we played with the dye that we didn't use for the screen printing. Lots of fun and lots of options.
Thanks for coming by, and stop in again soon!