Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Printing With Textile Paints

A little over a year ago, a few fiber artist friends and I formed a group called Fiber Art Network. We meet once a month, share our current work, and bring each other up to date on news of any upcoming exhibits or classes. Once in a while, a member offers to conduct a workshop at the meeting. Today Diana led us in printing with gelatin plates. She was inspired by the book Making Monotypes Using a Gelatin Plate by Nancy Marculewicz.
We had prepared plates at home, using cookie sheets or aluminum trays. We determined how much water we would need to fill the tray to about 1/2 inch, than set aside enough unflavored gelatin to equal two tablespoons per cup of water. The water was divided in half, and to the cool half we added the unflavored gelatin, mixing well until it dissolved. The other half of the water was boiled and then added gradually to the gelatin mixture and mixed thoroughly. Finally, the mixture was poured into the tray and any little surface bubbles scooped away with a scrap of paper, then put in the fridge to set.

Because we were working with fabric, we used textile paints. Diana demonstrated different techniques, but basically we used foam brushes to paint on the hardened gelatin, then laid a piece of prewashed white or colored fabric on top, rolled a brayer over it or patted it with our hands, then lifted off the fabric and voila - a wonderful print!!

I'm anxious to experiment more with this process, because I'm finding it exciting to use my own painted and printed fabrics in my fabric applique pictures! But then again, I'll always love finding just the right commercial fabric to depict a vase, a sky or any element in a composition.
So many possibilities!!

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