Thursday, January 21, 2010

Better Late than Never???

It's been awhile since I've posted, but since this is mostly for myself (and a few friends), I know it's no big deal.  I don't have any advertisers threatening to drop me because I'm an inconsistent blogger!

The problem with not staying in touch is that when you finally do, there's so much to catch up on!  So forget that; I'll just post some photos of what I've been doing lately.

My interest in hand-marbled fabric was rekindled when I visited one of my customer's websites and bought a few pieces of her beautiful cloth (  (If you decide to purchase any of Suzi's marbled fabrics, tell her Joanna sent you!)

I've dabbled a bit in marbling, so decided to demo the technique at our January Fiberexplorations meeting.  Dud!  I showed the technique using shaving cream as the base (spread like frosting on a cookie sheet, about 1" high).  The inks, specially made for marbling by Jacquard, are applied in single drops onto the base, then swirled, raked, etc. into designs with a thin bamboo skewer.  Except that with shaving cream, the colors are pulled down into the cream, rather than staying on top.  Here are some results:  (click on any photo to enlarge)

I forgot to mention an important point:  to retain the colors and designs on your marbled fabric, the fabric must first be prewashed w/detergent in hot water, soaked in a solution of alum, hung to dry, then lightly ironed.

Cotton PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric works best, though a nice watercolor paper can also yield beautiful results. 

[For specifics, check the instructions that come with the Jacquard kit (from Dharma), a book on the subject, or online.]

I used the Dharma kit* and The Weekend Crafter book Marbling:  Easy & Elegant Projects for Paper & Fabric by Laura Sims that I found at SCRAP in Portland.

I had lots of alum-treated fabric left over from last summer's Sisters Arts Stroll, where Dean and I taught folks the age-old craft of flower-pounding.  That's what I've been using in these marbling experiments, but CAUTION:  my book says any unused alum-treated fabrics should be washed out if not used within one week!  And the Dharma catalog says:    "Alum + Heat = Rotted Fabric!  
Oh well, I used them anyway.

In this 2nd example, the same base was swirled some more and fabric applied, but it's even further mixed-in with the shaving cream, so the colors are more pastel.

Sorry, my fellow Fiber Explorers!  But if you'll humor me at our Feb. meeting, I promise better results using methocel as a marbling base!  That's what came with my Jacquard kit.

*the Dharma kit is Jacquard's  "Mini Marbling Starter Set" and contains 6  1/2-oz marbling inks (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Black & White) -- fun to mix your own colors from these, using a color wheel!  PLUS alum, methocel (for the base, instead of shaving cream!!!), and basic instructions.  All you need to get started for $12.25.

I spent all of last weekend marbling and screenprinting fabrics.  Here's a look at what the marbling inks dropped onto a methocel base look like before they're swirled, etc.  (Here, I'm using an old 9x12" baking pan.  Always use separate utensils and containers for fabric dyeing, painting, marbling, etc. and keep them separate from those used for food prep and cooking!)

Preparing for my first marbled design:
It may be hard to discern what's going on in this picture.  It's an old aluminum baking pan with lots of scratches and dents on the bottom, then blobs (actually single drops) of blue dye beginning to spread, and because I used a flash with this photo, you can see the shadows of each "blob" underneath.
After I swirled this paint, laid the fabric on top of it and got my marbled "print," strips of newspaper were used to remove leftover dye from the methocel's surface. Some of the dye sinks to the bottom of the pan.  That's okay -- all we care about before laying out our next sequence of inks is that the methocel surface is clear of ink!

Preparing for my 2nd marbled design:
 Here, single drops of red quickly spread till each bumped up to it's neighbor, forming square shapes.  The pigment moved to the outer edge of each square, leaving barely any color in each center, so I added a second drop of red.
These 2nd drops didn't spread much; you can see the red "nucleus" of that drop, only slightly spreading.  (I'd hoped the 2nd drop would fill in more red in the center of each square.) 

Unpredictability . . . one of the joys of marbling!

And the blue you see?  That's ink that has sunk to the bottom of the pan, from the first marbling print I made (previous photo).  It just weirdly shows up in this photo where auto-flash was used. 

Wait till you see this print!  (think "cells" )

While you're waiting for my next post, here's a great link that Suzi (from Marbled Arts) posted on her blog:    
 (Talk about some creative ideas!!!)

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