My 'word' for 2014 is Courage, so I'm going to go out on a limb and share where I'm headed for 2015!!!
In the coming weeks I will be making some
changes to the Natural Surface Academy and blog. To be honest, keeping the Natural Surface
strictly about natural dyeing is not only boring the hell out of me, but it's
also stifling my creativity.
While I do work primarily with natural
dyes, I also work with fabric paints, shiva paintstiks, digital printing, discharge
dyeing (yes you really can discharge dye natural dyed fabrics), and more.
Shiva paintstiks and crayon on indigo dyed cotton fabric.
I will be adding video links (YouTube) to
some of my adventures that are for Academy Members ONLY!
My dream is to license my designs, have my
own fabric lines, etc., so with this in mind I am changing a few things here at
the natural surface and adding in a bit more information, etc., I will be
sharing my adventures in creating digital designs, licensing, etc., with
Academy Members through our Facebook group.
My 2014 Goals List that I made to use as my screen saver, I have to admit putting this, my goals list, out there scares the snot out of me but as some of my friends have told me in the past "go big or go home!"
Stenciling on natural dyed (tea and coffee) fabric.
I'm using purple and yellow acrylic paints and a stencil brush.
This while waiting for the screen printing supplies to arrive. The bulb in my thermofax machine died and is no longer available, so on the advice of some trusted artist friends I've purchased Jacquards drawing fluid and filler to make silk screen designs. The upside to this is I'll have large screens for screen printing natural dyes onto the cloth.
I do, however, dye,
paint, and print, my fabric with natural dyes.
courtesy of the Main Street Cultural District Ames, Iowa.
I participated in a local art walk last Friday and
after three hours of questions about my natural dyed scarves, artwork, etc., I
am once again reminded as to why I don’t call myself an eco-dyer, for the most
part nobody is interested in the craft of eco-dyeing!
While most people play lip service to protecting the
environment, sustainability, fair trade practices, and all things “green” the
fact of the matter is when most people found out that I was using tree bark,
mushrooms, leaves, bugs, and other stuff to dye my art cloth the response was
an overwhelming “that’s nice” or “that’s really cool”. "That’s nice" is the kiss of death, it's the Mid westerners
version of “so what” or “who cares”!
The whole experience solidified in my mind what I
already knew, while there are some that are truly concerned about the
environment and sustainability, the majority only cares if it saves them a buck
or two. Which leads me back to why I
don’t eco-dye my fabric, fibers, and threads, but in fact dye them with Natural
Dyes, to me it’s about the process and the relationships I form with other
dyer’s, and most importantly with nature that surrounds and inspires me.
Natural dyed silk scarves.
For me the process is not about immediate
gratification, but about discovery, learning, exploring, and most importantly
relationships. Unless a local woodworker
gifts me a bag of wood chips from their dust collection system or from their
lathe turnings, the wood, barks, and roots I use to create my designs are
collected over a period of years, often time’s decades.
My finished artwork was a hit with everyone with
plenty of people telling me they’d love to be able to stitch and sew like I do
and do I teach classes? The evening
wasn't a total bust, I got plenty of hits from women of all ages that are
interested attending a stitching party; the older women of course were very
excited about the wine aspect of said parties. Click here to learn more about eClasses, Workshops, and my newest offering Out of the Box Art Parties!
I am here today to show you how
to use stencils with a silk screen and natural dyes for screen printing.
Mix up Gum Tragacanth with Natural Dye Extracts; see video for specific
amounts and mixing instructions. I made
a little card with the names of the extracts I was working with and daubed a
bit of the color next to each name, for future projects.
The Natural Dye Extracts blended with the Gum Tragacanth are now ready
Most silk screens won’t be the same size as your stencil, however,
I have an easy fix for this problem.
Measure your screen and your stencil and then block off the required
space for your stencil by taping news print to the FRONT of your silk
screen. Then tape your stencil to the
front of the screen making sure to overlap the stencil onto the newsprint.
Blocked off silk screen, as seen from the front.
Blocked off silk screen as seen from the back.
Black Birds in Tree Inverse taped to the FRONT of the silk
Place your natural dye binder medium onto the screen,
towards the edge, this is known as “the well”.
Using your squeegee pull the medium in a firm manner across the screen,
once you have reached the other side, pull the medium back towards yourself, do
this several times adding more of the natural dye binder medium if needed until
the color on the screen looks even.
Gently lift up the silk screen from your substrate, I
used 300# cold press watercolor paper for this sample.
For this sample I used the same stencil and screen to print the image
onto cochineal dyed cotton fabric that I had surfaced using my hand and earth
pigments and fabric paint.
Printing onto cochineal dyed cotton fabric.
If you wish for your fabric images to be free of bumps,
etc., tape the fabric to your surface to keep it from moving, etc., while
printing. I prefer an organic and
whimsical look and therefore don’t tape my fabric to my table.