Sunday, June 29, 2008

More Chemical Rust Dyeing

Well, what a great ego boost the last blog posting was. Thank you all so much for the lovely comments you have left. No pressure there then *LOL*
I will ask young David at work to draw a name tomorrow so if anyone hasn’t put their name down yet then please do, I shall check one last time before he picks a winner.
Remember the chemical rust dyeing I did a couple of weeks ago? Well, I decided to put all the pieces of fabric through the washing machine and although they have come out soft and smelling an awful lot better, most of them lost some of the lovely colours they had. This is a selection of what I have ended up with, still quite good but not so colourful.

I then decided to try the dyeing but without the tea-bags. I took this first lot of photos when they were still wet and I’m glad I did. The last photo shows the back of the fabric, the green lines are from where the fabric was laid on the grass after dipping.For some reason, when they dried out they lost all their colour completely. This is just one of the pieces, all the others look pretty much the same. Once again, still rusty looking fabric but nowhere near as colourful. I’m going to fold these pieces and dunk them in Denim Blue Procion Dye – I do like the combination of rust and deep blue.Today I thought I would try again but this time using paper – Tyvek and handmade.
I made the recipe as before with a tray of teabags &Caustic Soda and one of Ferrous Sulphate. This time I also had a tray of Copper and one of Chrome, chemicals I have used as mordants when dyeing with natural dyes.The results are fabulous.The blue colour is the Copper and the yellow is the Chrome.
This first lot is Tyvek paper.Along with some close ups.And this batch is handmade paper.I still had some liquids left so grabbed this painted quilt I made a few weeks ago. I had already given it a first layer of paint but wasn’t going to go any further as I wasn’t happy with the finish. I thought it would be a good idea to finish the edges this time before painting as they are quite tricky to do afterwards, but I just didn’t like the corner pieces I fixed on. I still persevered though and it was only after I painted it I realised I hadn’t attached any tabs for hanging – its a double sided one – so it was ditched!
It looks a bit messy as I literally slathered the liquids on any old way. The way it has turned out though is certainly food for thought and the close ups show what an exciting surface it could be.

But you know me, I couldn’t leave it there. I decided I would put a wash of Transparent Red Iron Oxide on top to bring the colours together. It was only a thin wash which I then rubbed back in places to allow some of the colours underneath to show through. It did darken some of the ‘rusty’ spots down but it looked really good. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a photo at that stage. I only wish I had because I thought I would then seal it with Polymer Medium. Big mistake. Chemical Rust Dyeing and Polymer Medium do not mix. The rusty spots went a really sludgy grey colour and started to lift off. Now it has dried the sludgy colour has disappeared but then so have most of the other colours! It just looks a bit dull and boring now.
This piece of Tyvek was the same. The first photo was taken just after I had applied Polymer Medium and the second photo is once it had dried.

So this is what I have learned so far from this method of rust dyeing:
  • Paper holds the colours far better than fabric

  • Tea-bags seem to make a difference to the recipe

  • When using the liquids on top of acrylic paint you can achieve almost the same effect as when you use the Metallic Paint and Rust Activator

  • Polymer Medium and this technique just do not mix

  • Better results were obtained by dipping first in the Caustic Soda/Teabag solution then the Ferrous Sulphate rather than vice versa

    Two other things I wanted to show you. Firstly, this is the spoon I used to stir the Caustic Soda and the Ferrous Sulphate with in the batch I did without the teabags. It was already a deep blue from a previous dyeing session but isn’t the surface wonderful?
The other thing is this...
One tiny little splash of Caustic Soda, photo taken the following day and it did actually start to look a lot worse than this before it got better. So if you are going to try this out make sure to wear long sleeves or better still long gloves.(Preferably with no holes and wear old clothes & trainers too *LOL*)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

175th Blog Posting

It seems to be the norm these days to celebrate your blogiversary but my 100th posting passed me by without notice, as did blog number 150 and I have no doubt that my 200th posting will go exactly the same way.
So I have decided to be different and celebrate my 175th posting - and here it is.
What better way to celebrate than with a few (a very few!) of the photos I have posted on this blog from November 2006 to December 2007.

Firstly some of the vessels I have created:Followed by a few of the journals:And finally just a small amount of the many, many close up photographs I have taken.It also seems to be the norm to have a giveaway on a blogiversary and this one is no different :)
This is what I have been working on recently. Its not finished yet - I still have the backing and the hanging tabs to put on, hence the wonky photo, but I have made a pledge that I will blog at least once a week on a Sunday so I will show this painted quilt at the stage it is at the moment.

So if you fancy giving a good home to this quilt, just leave a comment - even if you don't normally do so, the more the merrier - and in a week or so I will get one of the hunky lads at work (well, the other one anyway) to draw the name of the lucky winner.

The first half of 2008 has been fantastic for me and there's even more to come, so this is just my small way of saying thank you for all the support, encouragement and kind words I have been given since starting this blog, and for the cynics amongst you, yes, an oversized carrot to make sure you keep tuning in. *LOL*

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Alternative Rust Dyeing

I saw this method on Artstitches blog some time ago and gathered together all the ‘ingredients’ but hadn’t got around to doing anything until Ro Bruhn gave me the nod about the Mystory blog entry. When I saw the fabulous results Jo came up with, I decided to have a go.
All three of these blogs are wonderful by the way, well worth a look at some of the brilliant work they produce.
All you need are tea-bags, Ferrous Sulphate and Caustic Soda.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend this technique if you have small children or pets and I have serious doubts about the longevity of any fabrics coloured using this method of rust dyeing, but you do get some amazing results. Just a note if you intend to try this: work outside, wear gloves, make sure you observe all the usual health and safety rules and dispose of the solutions down an outside drain.
The recipes on each blog differed a little and this is the one I followed.
You need 2 waste oil/cat litter trays. In one you brew 50 cheap, strong tea bags in 2 litres of water, let it cool and add a tablespoon of Caustic Soda. In the other you dissolve 250 gms. of Ferrous Sulphate in 2 litres of warm water. (Ferrous Sulphate is available from Artvango).
The rest is simple. Just dip your fabric in the tea-bag/Caustic Soda solution, let it drip, dip it in the Ferrous Suplhate solution, then lay it out to dry. You can get a variation in colour if you reverse the order of dipping. Or you can dip in one tray, lay it out and dribble the solution from the other tray on top, which is how I coloured some of my pieces.
Next time around I will try tie-dyeing and such to see what results I get.
I must have dyed around 40 pieces of fabric and took loads of photos, these are just a small selection.

All these pieces were plain white PFD fabrics. The best results were using Cotton Velvet and also from fabric that had been wetted out first.
The fabric is still stiff after ironing (with the workroom iron, not the good one!) but now I have taken the photographs I shall wash them through to see if they come up any softer without affecting the colours too much.

Notes (to self) for next time:

  • Don’t wear your bestest trainers that you paid almost £100 for just a couple of months back.
  • Don’t wear your most favourite jeans.
  • Make sure your gloves haven’t got holes in them especially if your day job requires you to be suited & booted and you don’t want your hands & nails to look like you have steeped them in something unpleasant all weekend.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Thanks to everyone that got in touch after my article in Workshop on the Web. I was overwhelmed with the response. So pleased you liked it. Theres another one coming up in September, totally different, more about that closer to the time.
Thanks too for all the interest shown in the Fibre in-Form website and the online workshops which Carol and I hope to provide some time soon.

My May swap partner for the Calendar Girls 2008 was Debbi and this is the card I sent her.I used the same technique as I did for the 'quilts' I showed recently. Quilted and painted calico with painted Tyvek paper on the top.I wanted to use the wording on this months calendar page rather than the picture itself and I also wanted to use the techniques that I have been working on lately.
So I quilted a piece of calico for the background which I then painted with acrylics – the usual mix, Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold and Paynes Grey – and rubbed over the top with Treasure Gold.
I then painted some 100 gms Tyvek paper with Walnut Ink followed by a wash of acrylic paint in the above colours. Pieces were then cut out using the soldering iron, stitched down with gold thread followed by a rubbing of Treasure Gold.
I printed the slogan on one piece and in the centre of the heart I printed a footprint – a Buddha footprint. Which both show up much better than they do in the photographs.The Buddha footprint has various symbols on it representing different meanings which I have explained on the Calendar Girls blog. Take a look there too at the other wonderful cards that have been created. As Doreen says, the bar keeps being raised each month :)

I have now finished the 'quilt' for the ALQS and it will be delivered to my partner shortly. I always put quilt in 'quotation marks' as I'm not sure how others feel about calling this piece a quilt as it isn't really one in the traditional sense of the word. Maybe it would fit in the category 'Art Quilt'?I was quite pleased with the 'pole' I made especially for the photograph. Its just a cardboard tube with tyvek paper attached that has been stained with Walnut Ink and then painted with a wash of acrylics.

A few weeks back I bought a new pair of shoes/trainers and they came in this wonderful box.Couldn't resist doing something with the fly. Do hope this isn't breach of copyright. I scanned him (?) in...changed the scan to greyscale, tidied it up a bit, printed it off... and did my bit with him - twice - using acrylic paints, inks and organza. Early days yet though :)

Sometime ago in the Saatchi Gallery there was a piece on display by Damien Hurst. It was a framed piece, about a metre square. From a distance the little jewels caught the light and it looked fabulous, very beautiful and intriguing. Closer inspection revealed it to be a mass of tightly packed bluebottle flies. It was disgusting. Such a strange feeling to be both awe inspired and revolted at the same time.