What are You Drawn To?
A Personal Note from Julie
April 27, 2014
When I teach classes in fabric printing techniques I always have my students create a number of different types of print blocks. These include blocks made from adhesive craft foam (see Issue #15: Summer Memories)
, moldable foam texture blocks (see Issue #6: Texture Times Three
or Issue #15: Summer Memories)
, blocks using recycled or found materials (see Issue #8: Recycled Resolutions)
and carved blocks (see Issue #13: Kitchen Notan Part 2: Block Print Designs)
. The next step is to print a sampler fabric using all their blocks. When I move around the classroom to observe the samplers, it never ceases to amaze me that each student will be drawn to particular shapes and marks. When I point this out, the student is often surprised. It appears that we are all naturally drawn to certain shapes, marks and designs even when we are not necessarily aware of it.
Recently, I came upon stapled sheets of notes titled, Review of Past Work to See Patterns in Ideas, etc.
To my surprise, this inventory of my work that was dated 9/21/92 had a familiar ring to it. At the time, I was designing and stitching wall art. I was creating original pattern darning designs to represent natural landscapes as well as symbolism. Here are some of my notes:
Pattern-light/dark but fading in and out, motion due to pattern, symbolism: mountain, sky, path, sun, water (basic things), Like patterns-ethnic textiles for pattern + color combinations, Idea of textile--A rich fabric I want to touch-rich colors/surfaces-many layers...
It seems that I continue to be drawn to many of these same inspirations in my printed fabric designs.Take a moment to look at your own artwork history to observe (and record) what marks, designs, motifs or subject matter remain a constant inspiration for you.
Two of the three members of Issue #17's Fabric Resist Trio
make a return appearance in this issue. You will create color wash backgrounds using freezer paper masks followed by drawing designs with blue school glue gel. More paint will then be applied over additional freezer paper masks. Fabrics with layers and color...right up my inspiration alley!
Layer it On!
Create fabrics with layers of color and design by painting over freezer paper masks and blue school glue gel resist.
You will need the following materials for this project:
To create the mask designs:
To create resist designs:
A Detailer Writer is a small squeeze bottle with a precision tip. Use it if you want finer lines.
To paint over the designs:
- Prepared for Dyeing cotton fabric. Cut to fit on your Portable Work Surfaces (see below). I used 12" x 15" pieces.
- Freezer paper (I use Reynold's)
- Craft knife with #11 blades
- Self-healing cutting mat
- Small sharp scissors (optional)
- #2 pencil (optional)
- Iron and ironing board or pad
- Pressing cloth (optional)
To set and remove the resist:
- Portable Work Surfaces (See Issue #2: Get Ready, Get Set..). One for each piece of fabric.
- Pieces of muslin/cotton cut to the size of your Portable Work Surfaces.
- Masking tape
- Transparent fabric paints (I use Pebeo Setacolor Transparent fabric paints). Use colors straight out of the bottle or mix custom colors starting with the lightest color and gradually adding darker colors. Dilute to the consistency of heavy cream to help prevent breaching of (breaking through) the resist (If you use Setacolor, it will be about a 1:1.5 ratio paint to water).
- Opaque fabric paints (I use Pebeo Setacolor Opaque fabric paints). Use colors straight out of the bottle or mix custom colors. Do not dilute.
- Plastic spoons
- Small plastic containers. Use one for each color.
- Foam brushes to apply transparent paints.
- Foam daubers (See Issue #4: How to Make a Foam Dauber) to apply opaque paints.
- Dense foam brayers (I use Rollrite) to apply opaque paints.
- Glass or plexi-glass palettes to roll out opaque paints. I purchase glass from the framing department of my local craft store. Buy the least expensive glass available and tape the edges with duct tape. You will spoon the paint onto the glass.
- Wipe-up cloth (extra piece of fabric)
Torn Freezer Paper Masks
- Iron and ironing board or pad
- Pressing cloths
- Bowl or tub that fits in your kitchen sink
- Liquid dishwashing soap
In Issue #17: Fabric Resist Trio
and Issue #9: Hearts & Lace
we covered ways to design masks using freezer paper. To create the fabrics in this project start by tearing strips of freezer paper. Iron the strips onto the fabric with the plastic-coated side facing the fabric. Strips can be ironed on horizontally, vertically or to create a grid pattern. (Optional: Use a pressing cloth over the strips to protect the iron)
First Layer: Painting Over the Strips
Paint the uncovered fabric between the freezer paper strips with alternating colors to create beautiful backgrounds with interesting color mixing.
1. Mix up two colors of transparent
fabric using either the normal dilution (1 part paint to 2 parts water) or the slightly thicker dilution (1 part paint to 1.5 parts water).
2. Use foam brushes to apply the paint. Alternate the two colors and paint the fabric between strips. Paint up to and along the edge of the torn freezer paper. Use a wipe-up cloth to pick up excess paint.
3. Let the paint dry completely before removing the freezer paper.
Notice the beautiful color mixing created by this technique.
Second Layer: Drawing Blue Glue Gel Designs
Draw designs with blue school glue gel. When dry the glue acts as a resist when adding more paint layers.
4. Use blue school glue gel directly from the bottle or squeeze some into a plastic Detailer Writer. Draw designs on the painted fabric.
5. Let the glue dry completely.
Additional Layers of Paint
After the blue glue gel dries use some of the following techniques to add paint layers over the resist.
6. Tear additional freezer paper strips and iron them onto the fabric covering different parts of the fabric from the first round.
Tear additional freezer paper strips and iron them over the dried glue designs.
7. Or use a craft knife and self-healing cutting mat to cut out designs from a sheet of freezer paper, then iron it to your glue-covered fabric.
8. Mix up additional colors of either transparent fabric paint (1:1.5 ratio paint to water) or opaque paint.
9. Tape a piece of muslin to your Portable Work Surface and then tape your fabric with torn or cut freezer paper designs on top. The muslin will absorb the excess transparent fabric paint, preventing it from seeping under the fabric and breaking through the glue gel resist.
Tape a piece of muslin or cotton underneath the glue-covered fabric to prevent additional layers of wet paint from seeping under the resist.
10. Use foam brushes to apply transparent fabric paint to the uncovered areas. Paint up to the edges of the torn freezer paper masks as you did with the first layer of paint. Use a wipe-up cloth to pick up excess paint.
11. Use foam daubers to apply a layer of opaque paint over torn strips, cover the exposed fabric areas with paint and daub along the torn edges. For craft knife-cut designs, daub across the open areas of the designs.
12. For a soft pastel texture roll over the freezer paper masks with a paint-covered dense foam brayer. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon of opaque paint onto the glass palette. Roll out the paint until the brayer is evenly coated. Then roll over the freezer paper masks.
13. You can use one, two or all three of these paint application techniques for different effects. See the finished fabrics below and read the captions to see the sequence of paint layers.
Setting the Paint
Read the manufacturer's directions for setting the paint. For Pebeo Setacolor fabric paints, I use one of the following techniques:
1. Let the paint passively
set by allowing it sit for one week.
2. Heat set with an iron. Sandwich the resist-covered fabric between two pressing cloths. Using the cotton setting, iron this fabric sandwich
for three minutes on one side before turning over and ironing for three minutes on the other side.
Removing the Resist
1. Place the set, resist-covered fabrics into a bowl or tub that fits into your kitchen sink. Squirt some liquid dishwashing soap onto the fabrics.
2. Fill the tub with warm water and let the fabrics soak for at least 10 minutes. The glue resist will begin to soften and the paint that was covering the glue will come off.
3. Rub the fabric to remove the resist or use a soft toothbrush.
4. Pour out the dirty water and refill with warm soapy water. Continue to soak and rub the fabric until all the resist is removed.
5. Machine wash the fabric in warm or cold water with a small amount of detergent on the delicate setting.
Below is a selection of fabrics created with these techniques.
1. Red and blue transparent fabric paint applied over torn freezer paper strips. 2. Blue school glue gel designs drawn on fabric with Detailer Writer. 3. Second layer of torn freezer paper strips ironed to fabric exposing different areas. 4. Red and blue transparent fabric paint applied in opposite sequence to first application.
1. Yellow and yellow-green transparent fabric paint applied over torn freezer paper strips. 2. Blue school glue gel designs drawn on fabric with glue bottle. 3. Second layer of torn freezer paper strips ironed to fabric exposing different areas. 4. Blue opaque fabric paint applied to exposed fabric using a foam dauber. 5. Removed freezer paper and painted uncovered areas with red transparent fabric paint.
1. Yellow-green and blue transparent fabric paint applied over torn freezer paper strips. 2. Blue school glue gel designs drawn on fabric with a Detailer Writer. 3.Second layer of torn freezer paper strips ironed to fabric to expose different areas. 4. Rust brown and red transparent fabric paint applied to exposed areas. 5. Removed freezer paper strips and ironed on a new layer of torn freezer paper strips to expose different areas to paint. 6. Blue, light green and turquoise opaque fabric applied to exposed areas with a foam dauber.
1. Green and yellow-green transparent fabric paint applied over torn freezer paper strips. 2. Blue school glue gel designs drawn on fabric with Detailer Writer. 3. Freezer paper torn into spiral shapes and ironed onto fabric. 4. Rust-colored opaque fabric paint rolled over fabric using a dense foam brayer
1. Light blue and blue-violet transparent fabric paint applied over torn freezer paper strips (strips ironed onto fabric to form a grid design).2. Blue school glue gel designs drawn on fabric with Detailer Writer. 3. Designs cut out of a sheet of freezer paper using a craft knife. 4. Freezer paper with cut designs ironed to fabric. 5. Turquoise paint applied to open areas of freezer paper mask using a foam dauber. 6. Black paint applied over open areas of freezer paper mask using a dense foam brayer. 7. Freezer paper mask removed and fabric painted with violet transparent fabric paint.