Sunday, August 4, 2013

How to Paint with Dyes

Textile Card

Many of my frameable textile cards and several pillows from my 'Artisan Pillow Series' found new homes this weekend!!! We enjoyed the people at the Invermere Market and it thrills me to think of my artwork in my customer's homes.
Highlights for me this weekend were:
  • having repeat customers from the weekend before.
  • knowing some artwork was going to New Brunswick and some to Ontario.
  • having a younger couple purchase original artwork because she "loves birds".
  • not having fabric blowing everywhere and business cards blowing down the street this weekend.
  • having one of the purchased pillows going on a new couch!
People were asking about the process of painting with dyes so here goes. First I wash the fine quality cotton fabric I purchase with a special soap. Then I soak the fabric in a solution of soda ash and water, dry it and tape it onto a Plexiglas support. Often, I first create a sketch and using a light source transfer the sketch to the fabric by drawing with thickened black dye that is in a bottle with a nib. After curing that fabric in plastic overnight, I paint it with dyes I have mixed from powder and thickened with sodium alginate/agar which comes from seaweed. As you can see from the photo, I use Styrofoam plates to mix the colours needed. After I have painted the image, I again wrap it in plastic to cure for 24 hours in a warm place. The fabric is then washed in hot water with a soap that stops the dye from bleeding back into the fabric and then rinsed well in cold water. I always dry it on the line or iron it dry. If I am satisfied with the results, it is then ready for framing or sewing.  
Reference Photo; Soda Soaked Fabric, Thickened dyes.

'Prairie Home'
Hand (dye) Painted Textile


Win Dinn, Artist said...

Congratulations on your successful market day in Invermere, Eileen - those lucky customers! And love the information in this post - well said...

Unknown said...

Glad you had a great weekend!

HollyM said...

Thanks, Eileen! Not to lessen your talent, but seeing the process makes it seem more doable.
Is is Santhropol you wash with? I'm soon due to make an order of dye from G and S dyes in Toronto.