Painting with Dyes on Cotton Fabric
Working in the heat of the summer is advantageous for the chemical reaction of the dyes with the soda soaked fabric. Warmth enhances the 'colour set' of the dyes. One thing you do have to think about though, especially if you are working on a large piece of fabric is to avoid letting the piece dry out. To minimize this, I work quickly, apply a generous amount of the thickened dye and lightly lay a piece of plastic over areas that I have completed. Moisture helps with the chemical reaction of the dyes and fabric so it is important for the dyes to remain a little damp overnight.
I always remember a hint about fabric painting from my friend Gail. When painting on the fabric, I will dip out a spoonful of the colour of thickened dye I want, onto a plate, along with any other colours I want to mix together. For instance, I might spoon out a dollop of yellow and a smaller amount of blue to mix together for green. Once I've finished painting with that colour, I might set it aside to use later in another area. Here is where the hint comes in. As my paint brush is going from the soda soaked fabric to the dye, the brush may carry soda ash back onto the dye plate. This soda ash will interact with the dye and start lessening it's colour strength. Therefore to limit this, I clean the mixing plates of the remaining dye often. Usually within every 2-3 hours or between finishing one piece of fabric and starting another.
I share these ideas with you so that if you are ever painting with dyes, you are aware of them and thus have the greatest chance of success. It is mighty disappointing to rinse out a piece you've worked hard on and have it's colours be faded.
|112 five by seven inch images|
I've been working the last 2 weeks on these 112 images. With these small 5 X 7" pictures, I first drew the image in black dye using a bottle with a nib that I can squeeze out a small stream of black dye with. I took the extra step of rinsing the material after it had 'batched' overnight and then re-soda soaked the fabric. This was time consuming but it saved the chance of the black bleeding with the addition of coloured dyes and it allowed me to paint right over those black lines if I chose to because the black dye was set.
|What beautiful gradation of colours hydrangeas have|
I admire the hydrangeas of my neighbour. Each image I painted has a reference to something in my life. I believe most artists work this way.
|Border Collies and Black Labs painted with dyes on fabric|
I've been painting a dog series in watercolour and so I tried painting some Border Collies and Black Labs onto fabric too.
The next two examples are over painting a low immersion dyed piece of fabric. Previously I had scrunched up a piece of fabric, placed it in a container, added some liquid dyes and poured warm soda ash solution over it. I am not really sure if over-painting on pre-dyed fabric, is going to be a success yet or not. When I start adding details in stitching, I will better be able to assess how this technique works.
Note: some images are upside down and some sideways as I was working from both sides of the table.
|Experimenting: Several small images on this one piece of fabric.|
|Experimenting: 12 small images that will be cut up for making textile cards|
I had a little strip of cloth left over so I thought I would try some figures. In watercolour these are referred to as 'incidental' figures as they add interest to a painting but they are not detailed. I am looking forward to working on some larger textile pieces and these 'incidental' figures might just be what is needed in them.