Friday, January 29, 2010

Rust Dyeing

Finally getting to post about the rust dyeing that I mentioned several posts ago.
I am a member of the North Suburban Needle Arts Guild and several of the members have created their own little group known as the "Free Motions".The group consists of  Tracy , Shelley, Leah & Nina. They get together to 'play' and try out new techniques with fabrics. Not only do they learn something new but they have a load of fun while doing so.

I was fortunate to have been asked to join them back in December when they were invited by Nina  to come up to her beautiful home in Milwaukee for a day of 'playing'. Nina had buckets of lovely rusted pieces to choose from to lay on our fabrics for the dyeing process. She also treated us to a scrumptious lunch while we were there.

The dyeing process takes several days and must be kept wet. That was my FIRST mistake. I got home with several flat containers with the fabric and rusted objects
all enclosed in a garbage bag. I was busy getting ready for the show I did at the arts center so I just laid the garbage bag on the floor in the garage and forgot about it for a few days. Since it was nice and COOL in there I just assumed that it would at least stay moist for the several days. HAH! When I finally took the garbage bag off the fabrics were so dry that the rusted objects were stuck to the fabric. There were some pieces that were OK, but for the most part my dyeing didn't look as nice as I'd hoped for.

What to do? Well I took several of the plastic containers to the basement shower,
laid the fabric down on the plastic, then the rusted objects and hosed it down with the shower head. I kept checking on the fabric EVERY day and sprayed with more water each time the fabric looks as though it might be drying out. After 4 days this is the results.
This first piece is commercially printed cotton that was NOT prewashed, so it might have dyed better if it had been washed. I also did NOT lay the items on this piece I wrapped the fabric around a long rusted metal object. I really like it the second time around. Originally this piece had a few specks of rust, but now it's much better after the second dye job.
This is a close-up of the above piece.

The next piece is white cotton velvet that Tracy was kind enough to give me to try. Really, really love the velvet. Love the way the color bled out around the rusted pieces. This piece had little to NO rusting on it prior to round two of the dyeing.

The fabric in the piece below was PFD cotton and initially did not look very good until the second round in the shower!! Again, I love the way the rust bled out around the objects.

The fabric used in this piece below is commercially dyed cotton and I did NOT wash prior to dyeing.
This is after the second dyeing process and looks much better.

That day the group exposed me to my first screen printing using thermofax screens. WOW! I was in love with the process immediately. So much so, that I came home and started pricing thermofax machines. I haven't bought one YET but maybe one day. Until then, I'll just buy the screens already made from someone else.

This is my very first screen print below.

Today, I spent most of the day playing around with discharge dyeing. I got some great results. I
will take photos and post them later. And I promise not to wait longer than a month to post, like I did with the rust dyeing.
Have a great weekend!



Terri Kahrs said...

Ohhh, Cathy! These gorgeous fabrics are making my little altered heart sing! I can just imagine your disappointment when the fabric originally dried out. Persistence DID pay off, though. Your beautiful results are well worth the effort. Hugs, Terri xoxo

Cathy said...

Thanks Terri! Persistence usually does pay off.
Now I need to come up with a project to use these lovely fabrics.

whymsicalmusings said...

Cathy I really really love this! I do agree the velvet is the best the color bleed is FABULOUS!!!! You will create something beautiful with them I know:)

Janine said...

It is wonderful to learn something new, especially when the result is so gorgeous.
I am looking foreward to see what you make of it.
Have a great week

Cathy Spivey Mendola said...

Thanks Becky & Janine! You guys have a great week.

Gypsie said...

I love this -- very cool! xoox Gypsie

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