Sunday, October 29, 2006

Back to work

The outside leaves won out yesterday. A quick check of the weather forecast showed that the unexpected warm temps and sunshine for Saturday would give way to cold, rain and possibly snow on Sunday. So leaf bagging was the order of the day (eight bags later and not quite all leaves up), leaf printing delayed until today.

It was a good move. With nothing else pressing, I had the whole day to play - a dreary day brightened by the work being done within and The Chieftains discs playing on the CD player. And very unlike me, I just got out my stuff and dived in. No research, no referencing directions, no anxiety! I told you this place would be good for my creativity!

I set up in the kitchen, which worked well. Here are my two "work stations" - the table where I set out the printed hand-dyed fabric squares to dry...

...And the kitchen counter spread with layers of newspaper. Don't you just love the color of my kitchen? Beats the ivy wallpaper that lurks underneath.

Here's my bag of leaves. I've been collecting them for a few days and sealing them up in a freezer bag keeps them from drying out. Dry brittle leaves just wouldn't work.

I've got a bunch of Liquitex acrylic paints that I'd like to use up. I don't like how stiff they leave the fabric, but at the time I was buying my first paints, I didn't know any better. I've since purchased both Textile Medium and Flow-aide - products especially designed to modify how acrylic paint reacts and today was the day to try them out. Textile medium says it makes the acrylic softer on fabric. It's creamy but not as thick as the acrylic. For this application, mixing 1 part medium to 2 parts paint thinned the paint enough to brush on the leaves. When dry it was noticeably less stiff than acrylic paint just thinned with water. Still changes the hand of the fabric a bit more than I like, but definitely an improvement.

The Flow-aide is to be pre-mixed with water before being added to the acrylic and is supposed to "increase the flow and workability of water-thinned acrylic." I think I can verify that but it didn't effect the hand of the painted fabric - very stiff.

Then I moved on to using Veritex paint. I absolutely love this paint in every application I've tried. It is a good consistency right out of the jar and leaves the fabric soft. I used 4 different metallics: cherry frost, gold, copper and bronze. I always forget that these aren't opaque paints. If I want to overlap leaves effectively, I need to use something else. I loved the way the copper and gold looked on black fabric though. Here's the results of my trials. Not many close-ups - my scanner's in the shop - but if you click on any picture, you'll get a larger version.

I used those cheap 1" foam brushes to apply the paint and was surprised that they left "brushstrokes" which transferred in the print. I did better when I pounced the paint on rather than stroked it on.

Now that I had tried different paints, and various colors on different backgrounds, it was time for a bigger piece using bigger leaves. This is a commercial batik - my mother-in-law decided not to use it in a project and didn't think I'd want it. Silly girl. There's about 2 yards, it was free, it was unpacked, it was sacrificed! I was going for a subtle look - to be able to see the leaf prints only upon close inspection.

Here's close inspection. The small leaf in cherry frost is easier to see than the larger one in bronze.

And here are my leaves with their shiny coating of metallic paint. Yeah, I probably should have figured out some way to use them, but with so many leaves at my disposal and no immediately thought, I stifled the urge to save them. I tried applying paint to both the top and bottom sides of the leaves and liked the prints I got when using the back side best - the veins seemed to show up better that way.


margaret said...

aha, HERE are the pictures of the leaf prints! If you do any on sheer fabric, send them my way (gg) -- I'll use them in the "moons" series.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Now I hadn't thought of that! Dang, and I've put everything away already. Then again, I haven't run across my sheers yet so I'll keep unpacking until I do, then give it a go. Any color preferences for the leaves???