Sunday, January 4, 2015

Experimenting with Printing & Dyeing

The Christmas/New Year period is my favourite time of year as it allows me a couple of weeks of relaxing slow time in my studio without having a set routine.   Of course I end up with a 'to do' list a mile long, which is really more of a wish list given I usually want to do a year's worth of art in a few days.

This year's big project was to give Lumi Printing a try.  Its something I spied at the art shop earlier in the year and I decided to treat myself as an early Christmas present.

The Lumi system is simply sun printing on fabric.  I had briefly experimented with sun printing a few years before, so seeing the Lumi products gave me the inspiration to try printing and eco-dyeing together.

I made transparencies of Bracken Ferns to expose with the Lumi dye on a couple of cheap white cotton t-shirts.  I painted the dye onto the shirts, then exposed them to the sun for 20 minutes with the transparencies on top.  Pretty simple to do on one of our clear, hot summer days.

After washing, I then prepared the t-shirts for eco-dyeing.  This time I pre-mordanted using a couple of dips in soy milk (organic, no added sugar).  I decided on a cabbage brew, aiming for soft blues and browns to compliment my fern prints.  HOWEVER as usual, my dye bath didn't go to plan, I ended up with a nasty dark brew which was more like an iron brew, so the results were much darker than I wanted.  The other problem is the smell - I've washed the shirts several times, there's still a bit of a residual odour but good enough to wear without turning people off.

In conclusion, I'd say it was a bit of holiday fun.  The results were not as I expected, but I've created some very unique artwork that I can wear.  My next experiment will be monoprinting on shirts with my etching press 'Thumper' instead of the Lumi dyes.

The Lumi Dye Products.
I bought a few small packets to give it a try.
One packet of dye did one A4 size area on a shirt.
Applying the Lumi dye.
Exposing the dye to sunlight to make the print.
The resulting prints.
Bundling after eco-dyeing.
I decided to try using a shibori fold instead of
rolling around a stick.
One of the finished t-shirts,
a combination of print and dye,
very organic looking.
Here I am modelling the other shirt.
 I think the colour of the print doesn't really sit well
with the accidental darks of the eco-print.
But I'm not too worried.  The cost of the whole process
was only about $15 per shirt
(including the cost of the shirt!).

With this singlet, I painted the Lumi dye on in a
random way then placed silky oak leaves on it before
exposing to sunlight.  A bit more of an abstract result.
The dye colour was black, but I watered it down a bit
so its more of a purple/blue.
And of course one of the best eco prints on the BACK
of the t-shirt!  I might chop the shirt up and collage it
onto something else...... always possibilities!

1 comment:

  1. Love the results...i think i have some of this dye somewhere!!!