A blog about making art and other things using cloth, paper, paint, colour, stitch, and all sorts of exciting techniques, some of which I'm sure I still have to discover! I hope that the joy all this gives me is visible in what you can see here.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Wednesday 20th January 2010

Last Autumn I made my first attempt at discharge dyeing with bleach. I used a good quality black cotton fabric, and soon discovered that it was going to discharge to a lovely coppery brown.

I tried printing, spraying with stencils, tying with string and applying thick bleach with a selection of tools including a comb and some shells.

The results were various, but I particularly liked the effect of combing on the bleach, and pulling in different directions. After rinsing and soaking in metabisulphite, I decided to cut up some of the fabric into narrow lengths, and stitch them together. These were then cut again, only this time across the stitched widths, re-arranged, stitched and cut yet again. I continued in this way until I was happy with the arrangement.

To break up the straight lines where I'd joined the strips, I appliqued some other pieces of fabric over the top, and these were machined down. I also made up a square of textured material by layering about seven pieces of fabric in shades of brown, orange and petrol blue, sewing rows of stitch about 1/4" apart, and then slashing along between the rows of stitch, but leaving the bottom layer in one piece as this would hold everything together. This was also cut up into smaller squares and rectangles, placed randomly on the surface of the quilt and stitched down.

After layering with wadding, and a plain piece of black backing, I quilted with a selection of yellow and orange rayon threads. This was the fun part, because I quilted along edges where the bleach had discharged, and the marks made by the combing gave the surface a real sense of movement. Finally, I added some beading for extra crunch, and bound the edges.

A few more attempts at this technique convinced me that it was time to start experimenting with dyeing, printing and creating my own unique pieces of fabric. I decided to enrol on a workshop run by Claire and Leslie of "Committed to Cloth", and their Wet'n Wild classes seemed the perfect choice. We have one full day workshop every month now for the next 10 months, so more about that next time.