Sunday, February 9, 2020

Dye Painting on Fabric: Local Scenes for Cards

Painting with dyes onto cloth has so many variables. Below you will see two ways of painting. One where the image is very specifically painted onto cloth, cured, rinsed, ironed onto interfacing and then free-motion stitched. Note the next three photos for this technique. 

The last two photos depict somewhat randomly laying down of colour. Then after the curing, rinsing and ironing the fabric onto interfacing, an image is sketched in thread. 

Grain Elevators in Creston, BC. 5 X7" Textile Card top.
The grain elevators, foreground roadway and the midground fields were painted with dye thickened with a seaweed base that makes for easier control of the dyes. Oh, the seaweed thickener gets rinsed out after curing the cloth. The mountains and sky were painted with Procion fibre reactive dyes that were painted in their thinned state which works well for a dry brush technique and the flowing nature of clouds.

5 X 7" images are painted for making textile cards. After curing overnight the backgrounds and foregrounds were added.

The 100% cotton fabric has been cured and rinsed. I love the ironing part when I can really examine how well the dyes adhered to the cloth. It is always a guessing game as you must paint brighter and darker than you want the final image to be.

A 22 X 25" painted piece of fabric. I often do this at the end of the painting session to use up the dyes that have come out of the fridge to be worked with that day. In this particular piece the dyes were NOT thickened but rather thinned with urea water for lighter tints and darkened with black for darker shades. 

This 5 X 7" piece was cut from the above piece of fabric. Can you see where? Look to the lower left of the previous photo. It is so much fun to look at a piece of randomly painted fabric and imagine what it might become. Often our Creston valley is bathed in a colourful sunset which I've depicted in this scene of our grain elevators with the fields and distance Selkirk Mountains behind.

My textile cards can be found locally in Creston, BC. If you want something specifically painted for you onto cloth, let me know as I do commissioned work. email me at