Friday, 20 June 2014

Sun Printing Postscript

Thank you for all your comments on my sunprinting post yesterday.  I hope some of you do decide to have a go next time the sun shines.  I've now photographed the ones that got away and they are below.  

These pieces were concertina folded in the cat litter tray.  The dark stripes came from a dark blue that I applied quite thickly.  It didn't move a great deal.  The piece above is the front.

Above is the reverse.

This piece was also concertina folded but got less of the paint.  Above front.

A couple of my friends have made suggestions about where I might take these marks and forests have been suggested.  I think the first two pieces do suggest woodland to me and I've just remembered I did a watercolour painting once of a bluebell wood and some of the shapes are reminiscent of that so I may think along those lines.

Whatever you're doing this weekend have a good time and hoepfully enjoy some fine weather.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Sun Printing

Following on from all the dyeing I decided to have another go at sun printing.  If you click on the label 'sunprinting' in the side bar you can find previous posts that I've written about this.  The most recent is here.

Last time I sun printed with silk paints but this time I had bought some Pebeo Setacolour Soleil paints which are purpose made for sun printing.  You can also use silk paints or acrylic paints watered down but the acrylic paints will make the fabric a bit stiff.

I chose mostly cotton fabric but also some old sheer curtains which are probably made of nylon of some kind.  I soaked all the fabric in water and then wrung it out well, as opposed to just spraying with water as I did last time.  The important thing when sunprinting is to have everything you are going to need close to hand as you need to place your masks on the fabric as soon as you have applied the paint.  

I diluted the paints very slightly in the pots on the right and also mixed one or two colours from the bottles.  The Setacolor didn't have any instructions about adding water.

I laid waxed paper over boards and then put the damp fabric on top and applied the paints with a large brush.  I then grabbed all manner of flat-ish pieces and some fennel and ferns from the garden and then carefully carried the boards outside.
 I read on the bottles that you could apply resists to the fabrics just like you do with dyeing so I rolled a piece of fabric around a long strand of cotton lace and tied it up in a doughnut, applying paint as I went.  I also flag folded some fabric and applied some small bulldog clips. 

Just like with dye I scrunched up cotton and nylon fabrics in a cat litter tray and applied paints to that.

Perversely it wasn't a very sunny day but it was warm and the fabrics sat outside to dry.  The doughnut and the bulldog clipped fabrics took 2 days to dry completely.   It is important not to move any of the masks until the fabric is completely dry.

Now for the unveiling!

This section above reminds me of a gas cloud in space and I would love to attempt this on a larger piece of fabric.

The fennel has made some beautiful soft marks that contrast with the hard lines of the rings.  

This is the nylon curtaining that was coloured in the tray along with some cotton that I seemed to have missed photographing (I'll come back and amend the blog with some photos of that).

 This is the fabric folded and clamped with bulldog clips and I got some bonus rust marks too!

 The two images above are the doughnut ring and there are some very exciting marks in this fabric.  The second photo is the reverse of the fabric.

This is the reverse of the ring-printed fabric together with the lace that was in the doughnut. 

I don't have a clue how I will be using these fabrics but for the moment I am enjoying the marks I've achieved.  I think if I had done the printing on a proper sunny day I would have got much stronger marks as the reaction would have been quicker.  The best part of using the special paints seems to be that the fabric is still lovely and soft after the printing and ironing. (Yes, you need to follow the instructions on the bottles and iron the fabric thoroughly to set the colour).

Saturday, 14 June 2014

More Dyeing

Following on from the dyeing I showed here recently I've had another dyeing day with friends.  We had the luxury of using Wendy's studio and she even mixed the dyes for us.  We had a great time and came home with lots of fabrics to rinse out.  You may well know that I don't like flat colour so I mangled, scrunched, crushed, twisted, knotted and tied my fabrics to make it hard for the dye to reach every fibre.

The cat litter tray had pleated cotton, silk and scrim in it and I draped another piece of scrim into it from the jug which contained a pipe with fabric scrunched round it with string.  I ended up with a two toned length of scrim just right for a sea scene.

This was the piece tied and scrunched round the plastic pipe and has come out a bit paler than I expected but I love the wave-like marks.  I would love to do this with a large piece of fabric but would have to engage the help of my glamorous assistant (last seen rinsing fabric) to scrunch the fabric down.  I think I saw a suitable length of drainage pipe behind the shed  but I'll need a big enough bucket to immerse the fabric in.  I wonder what a rain butt looks like with dye in it?!  I usually use 1 teaspoon of dye to 100ml of water.  How many millilitres would there be in a butt?  Maybe I need to think about that again ;-)

The images above are the fabric from the jar which is one long piece.  The colours are a little brighter in reality.

These two, above and below, are from the litter tray.  I wish you could see how gorgeous the silk is, I wish I'd dyed a larger piece.

I am really pleased with the piece above.  I wrapped a length of cotton fabric around a washing line which I pulled tightly and tied so it looked like a doughnut,  and then put it in a plastic bag with 'warm black' dye.  I am not sure whether the dye has split or whether the yellow has come from the rope.

I tied the corners of the piece above in knots and scrunched and wrapped random areas with elastic bands (tie-dyed). 

I've been enjoying all the dyeing I've been doing lately and, along with some bought fabrics, I can feel a quilt coming on.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Canals and Mills

We recently had a few days away visiting some old friends across in Cheshire, a very beautiful part of the UK.  We stayed in a converted coach house surrounded by lovely walks and some frisky lambs.

The property was at Rainow and you can see more of it here.

This is the complex of holiday cottages to the right.

Just one  of the beautiful walks from our front door.

The light on these trees was just wonderful!

Jodrell Bank telescope at Alderley Edge, about 8 miles away, visible from the hill behind our cottage.


These cuddly rare breed sheep live in the field behind the cottages were very friendly.

As well as spending time with our friends we all went out to a local National Trust property.  Quarry Bank Mill was a cotton mill powered by an enormous water wheel.

We were lucky to visit on a beautiful Spring day when the rhododendrons were in flower.

And also this wonderful wisteria.

The gardens are extensive.

This amazing tree was growing right out of the cliff above the ornamental gardens.

Inspiring shapes and design potential pop up in all sorts of unlikely places.  

 This waterwheel was one of the most powerful in the country in its day.

Cobwebs in a window reminded me of waves in the sea.  

The modern answer to the water driven wheel is the water driven hydro-electric system behind my friend Ann and myself.  Ann moved to Cheshire just over two years ago and we really miss each other.

Just a couple of miles from our cottage was the Macclesfield Canal and DH and I took a leisurely walk along there on our last day in Cheshire.

Couldn't you see yourself in a studio at the bottom of this garden?
 We were told a woodpecker was nesting in the trees near this bridge and I did get a glimpse of it leaving the nest, but sadly no photo.

I was taken with this poem attached to the railings at Clarence Mill on the Macclesfield Canal.

Life has been very hectic lately, not least with creative happenings.  I've made several more infinity scarves and I've started on a pair of casual trousers for myself, more of which another time as I am still at the rough copy stage.  Today I've been across to a friend's house for a day playing with dye, again.   All the farbic is still sitting in its plastic bags brewing until tomorrow when I shall get round to rinsing it, or employ my resident rinser.  When it's all dry I'll show you the results.