Friday, June 3, 2016

Low Tech Printing: On Fabric

 Cabbage and Valspar Interior Paint

My cabbage had seen better days, but instead of composting it, I stripped down the outer leaves, and sliced it in half. One half was saved for supper, but one was destined for a print. It was hard to hold on to, so I stuck a fork in it for a handle. A tiny bit of paint on a sheet of foil, and it was easy to pull a print off of it. Was it stunning? Nope, but I could see where it might have potential for a background. Can you see using parts of it as frothy wave action? Most definitely!

Potato Stamping

I tried an apple, and it printed fine, but wasn't exceptional. I went back to the potatoes for the rest of my session. I chose a fairly round potato, and for those of you asking, they are Idaho Bakers. To make the center circle as round as possible, I used the small lid off my creamer carton. I printed one sheet of circles, and then thought, "What else?"

A butcher's knife laid straight across the design cut it symmetrically, and I carved out the excess with my linoleum cutter. You can see above how the potato was not really circular, but more elongated by the bottom most printing.

Again, I made another cut the opposite direction. 

Not wanting to waste the other half of my potato, I freehand cut another shape with the linoleum cutter. I began testing it on the right part of the paper, and if you look closely you can see how the cuts didn't go all the way to the edge of some petals. Some quick surgery corrected that, and the middle row was better. I tested it on the white paper, and thought it made a nice subtle print design.

I thought I'd played enough to satisfy the creative bug for the day, but I had this nagging feeling that I needed to see these stamps on fabric.

So I hauled everything back to the studio, and dug through my hand dyed fabrics looking for more solid looking pieces. Jacquard Textile Paints were nearby and designed for fabrics, and I thought these might make nice pieces for the #BraveQuilter fabric prize. If someone was going to be able to use them in a washable project, I wanted them to be actual fabric paints.

I had an Exciter Pack of paints, meaning a collection of samples of several different lines of paint. There wasn't a color that was subtle enough to match so I mixed them. I'm not sure if I'd say it was a tone or shade of the orange background as the darkest paint in the package was a purple, but it worked well. A bit of Colorless Extender made it even less opaque.

Jacquard Textiles Paints are made to use primarily on lighter colors, and would be lost on the more saturated colored fabrics I wanted to play with. Jacquard Neopaque Textile Paints have a metallic sheen, and show up much better. Again, I blended colors together to create a pewter/blue combo. 

Something in the spirals reminded me of galaxies, so I grabbed an old tooth brush, and created a spattering of stars to twinkle among them.

Critiquing the Work

Different colors, a different and busier background with more movement from dyeing, and the circular stamp above make this piece fun. In the few places where the Neopaque Paint went on heavier, there is a metallic highlight. I like this piece, but it may not be done.

There is a moment when you stand back from a project ready to admire what you've done, and it's supposed to be good. I froze. I thought, "What's wrong with this?" It felt like the scale was wrong, and there was too much empty space between the motifs. I see 'bottle caps on a table cloth' now, and think it needs some metallic 'petals' surrounding each circle. I think some feeling of movement with those would help, too. This needs more.

My daughter said, "Lion King". 

I said, "Oh, yeah." That's not at all what I was going for, but I see it. I think I could use this piece the way it is, but I also think it would feel more finished with another printing over the whole piece in a lighter color. What do you think?

Please understand that I am in no way an expert on any of this. I've given myself permission to play with stamps, paints and dyes for the whole month of June--maybe all summer! I'm here to learn and share, and would love to have you play along with me. If getting messy isn't your thing, you can live vicariously through my successes as well as the many mistakes. Expect that there will be both! The sure odds you can bet on are, we're going to know a whole lot more on the other end. Won't you join me for the fun?

See more printing posts~

Come on, Doxie girls,
and stay out of the paint!

Linking up with~


Angie in SoCal said...

I remember using this method making wrapping paper with the kids one summer long, long ago. Love the red print - would make a great accent pillow.

France Nadeau ❅ inspiration imagination creation said...

This looks fun! And isn't fun to realise what we intended is not always what others see in a piece? lol By the way, I like the cabbage print. :-)
Thank you for participating to my Fabric, Thread and Yarn link party. Have a good day!

quiltedfabricart said...

I want to come over to your house and play! You look like you have so much fun.

Kitty | Night Quilter said...

Oh this is so fun! I've been meaning to get out some old potatoes and help my kids carve stamps, but haven't made it happen yet. It is definitely on the list for rainy day fun during the summer. I'll see how they do with it, and if it's a success, i'll prob let them buy some fabric to stamp. Fingers crossed they have as much fun with it as I hope! I love how your designs evolved as you went. I'm looking forward to watching your experimentation!

Lena Pugacheva said...

I like your approach, but I agree that there is too much empty space, especially if you later have to cut them up. Personally, I would cover the red fabric with different size spirals with little space between)). as for the orange pice, have you considered supporting the lion King theme with another African-looking print, like wavy lines or zigzags in between the flowers? A close, but different shade of yellow/orange/terra cotta... And if I had a cabbage, I would use a kind of rainbow mix of colors with it, to enhance its texture with color... You see I'm carried away in dreaming, I must put printing fabric on my to-do list))

Marla aka YaYa said...

You have inspired me as well. I'll join you on a sunny day so the mess can stay outdoors and the paint will dry. I've added your post to pintrest.

Kate said...

You made a good start on the printing. I could use all of those fabrics as is. I'm looking forward to seeing where you take each from here.

Stitchin At Home said...

I love that you've given yourself permission to play.

Julie said...

I think kids love printing because they are at that place where they're forced to 'make their mark' in writing, art classes, etc. This is a bit of frosting on that because it doesn't take more than some canning jar lids to do amazing circles, etc., and looks good enough to use. It's perfect for even our youngest simply by using a hand or foot print, and some supervision.

Julie said...

Absolutely, France! I think it's up for interpretation most of the time. The fun thing is when you intend for it to look a certain way, and practice long enough to know you can repeat it.