Enigma 437: Find the fields - From New Scientist #1587, 19th November 1987 [link] Long Acre Farm measures 6 furlongs by 10 furlongs as shown on the map; the dotted lines are at furlong ...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Nearly wearable art
This started out as a white sleeveless vest, bought last year with the intention of dyeing it. It didn't happen then. Now enthused by Wardrobe Refashioning I'm beginning to put colour into the stash of white ready-made clothes that I've been collecting. Jim modelled the finished work for me but has declared it too flowery for him, and not really his colours either... which means I will either have to modify its paint job or alter it to fit me.
The prompt for Inspire me Thursday was "Show and Tell"
Here is what I did - though not with many pictures as I forgot about taking photos whilst wrapped up in the process:
I started with a dressmaker's dummy. It is not precious - I got it at the end of May from a charity shop and its fabric is in poor condition. I extended it as far as it would go then I covered it with a black plastic bin liner and stood it on more plastic.
Then I put the garment onto it. It was quite a loose fit despite making the dummy as big as it would go. So I tied in a couple of stones, one on the front and one on the back with elastic bands around them. I used more elastic bands to tie in further folds until the fabric was fairly taut.
So far this is like tie dyeing (except for the dummy!).
You can see that the folds are creating a starburst or petal-effect in the material.
I then started playing with paints. I worked from lighter to darker and the first day's were all done wet and watery. The paints ran, and if they didn't run I sprayed them with water to make them run. I wanted them to spread and seep a little through the folds in the fabric which they did quite well.
I used Stewart Gill's Colourise fabric paints which are quite thick so needed water adding to make this happen. I painted some on around the tied stones and I painted thickly in places to see what that was like too. This was the first time I'd used this brand of paints.
I left it overnight to dry. Next day it was dry enough to work with non-runny techniques.
I used black. First of all I experimented with lightly rolling the paint onto the fabric with a small sponge roller. I noticed that the areas where the dummy was textured were being picked up and creating edges.
I then tried using some stamps to add texture. I put them behind the fabric and rollered over them. Although this worked reasonably well I'd have preferred the final effect if I'd skipped this stage.
I did some final rolling to ensure the folds were well marked.
Then I left it to dry, removed the elastic bands and stones then heat set it in the tumble drier.
I washed it by hand to find out how much dye would come out. The water was noticeably darkened but the fabric stayed painted so this must have been excess.
The stones bagged the fabric a lot and there is still a slight bagging where they had been, but that may well recover after another wash.
I really like this "flower" section:
And I like the way the folds go around the whole body creating a piece that could not have been done as separate pieces of material.
But I'm far less happy about the way the top part turned out. It just doesn't work with the rest.
And of course its also turned out that I probably shouldn't have used pinks and purples in a flowery pattern for Jim...
So this was an experiment that I've learnt a lot from. Now I just have to work out how to make it wearable!