Monday, January 21, 2019


Imagined tree at sunset
I get curious about things but it's often a long time before I actually follow up on my curiosity. I decided that with my new Wing It resolution, I should devote at least some of January to satisfying my curiosity about some of these things I've wondered about for awhile now. First up, is the ink in my black Pitt brush pen opaque enough that the red ink laid down first won't show through? Yes it is. That was easy.

Pressing a piece of muslin on a wool pressing mat

The next thing would take more time, more gathering of supplies, including fabric suitable for printing on. One piece in particular needed some creases pressed out which gave me the perfect opportunity to try out this wool pressing mat. I've been using a similarly sized June Tailor Cut and Press on my ironing board for years, probably decades by now, because I like its firm surface for pressing seams when piecing. I guessed that these wool mats, now being seen everywhere in videos and TV shows, would be a similar firm surface, and being wool, perhaps work even better. I'd read that someone liked their Cut and Press for a stamping surface, and since mine is stained and pulling away from the cutting side, I thought I might retire it as a pressing surface and relegate it to a stamping surface. Those wool mats are pricey though, and I waited until I had some money from an art sale and a birthday to treat myself to one. I didn't actually pick it up until November and haven't had a reason to get it out of the wrapper until now. I need to put it through more paces before I decide what I think, but at a minimum, it worked pretty well as a pressing surface. Very grippy so you have to be careful to smooth the fabric over it well before starting and directions say not to move the iron back and forth as much as up and down.

Now on to this curiosity about what is essentially a monoprinting process. I'd seen it on Mary Stori's blog, this post reporting in on one of her sessions with her Fiber Junkies meetings. The technique involved essentially squishing paint between 2 panes of glass to create a texture that could be transferred to either paper or fabric (scroll down towards end of her post to see the process). I loved what I saw and knew I had everything I needed: two pieces of glass not used with their frames, Dynaflow paint, and fabric. Now a few months later, I didn't even bother to look up the post (Wing It!) because I remembered it as so simple. I used an eyedropper to drop 3 colors of paint onto one piece of glass. Is that too much? Not enough? Too close or too far apart? We'll find out.

I carefully place the second piece of glass on top. Looks promising.

I was totally unprepared for how difficult it would be to pull the two panes of glass apart - really a lot of suction! And while I was trying to figure out how to break that suction, the paint kept moving. When I finally split them apart, the ink ran together into a huge blob, most patterning lost. Dynafow is simply too thin to work, I decided. 

Still, I lifted the paint off the plates by laying fabric over them and pressing, which pushed the paint together even more. Trial one a fail (in terms of what I was going for) but this could be overprinted. I cleaned the plates and got out a thicker paint.

Versatex is a favorite paint because of its creaminess. It's just the right thickness in my book for use in stamping, no need to thin. It does have a bit of metallic sheen to it though, which has limited my use of it. I'm guessing it will work great here, but how to lay it down as it is too thick to drip? I used a small stick to dip it out of the jar and tap it onto the glass - 3 colors again. And again, too much, not enough, not close enough together? Let's see.

Glass on top and I could see I could have spaced the drops much closer. The glass shifted slightly and I could see this could add interest.

Again, mega suction making it really hard to pull the panes apart. But when they did, there it was, that interesting pattern.

I printed both plates and was delighted, even though there was a lot of open spaces. 

Sea coral, right?

I tried taking a ghost print but the paint dries pretty fast and not much came up. 

As I was rinsing off one plate, ruing all that paint going down the drain, I suddenly realized I could probably mist the plate with water to reconstitute the paint and allow more to be taken up in multiple ghost prints. And yes, that really does work as seen on my first failed piece, now overprinted.

Down to my last piece of fabric, a green hand-dye (I know, it doesn't look green here, funky lighting), I chose my favorite color, teal, and since there was quite a bit on the underside of the lid, I thought I'd try picking it up with a piece of sponge and dabbing it onto the plate. Fingers crossed, was not too sure about the coverage here. 

I added some copper in the first method of spooning it up on a stick, and laid a plate over it. And then I couldn't help myself. I give the top piece a spin. What do I have to lose?

And when I finally pried the two pieces of glass apart and gently laid and pressed the fabric over each pain, I was stunned at the results.

It is amazing to me that the details are so sharp.

I kept misting the plates and ghost printing on my white piece of muslin and a bit on that first pull. This one is nothing much to look at, but can be a base for more printing.

There was one other thing I meant to try, but was so caught up in the success of that last print and pulling up the last of the paint off the plates that I totally forgot. I just wondered what would happen if I dropped one color of paint on one pane and a different color on the other pane before smooshing them together? And I totally forgot about the Maribu Textile Paints I got on sale in November, which are supposed to have more "open" time for use in this kind of printing. Guess there will be one more trial before my curiosity is totally sated on this one. 


Olga Norris said...

Winging it seems to be giving lots of fun - and quite a pile of fabric to work with. Monoprinting with panes of glass can be really productive.

The Inside Stori said...

Good for you….taking the time to experiment, even after the first test wasn’t what you hoped for. As you’ve now figured out… were initially using too much Dyna-a-flow…..and in other tests….either dropping the paints too far or too close together. Gen (who shared her technique at one of our Fiber Junkies meetings) has been working with this method for a long time….but even still, says the results can sometimes be unpredictable. Over-printing or over-dyeing can rescue those disappointments!

Margaret Ball said...

You might try the same process using two pieces of freezer paper, or glass on the bottom and freezer paper on top. Because the paper is flexible, you can peel it away from the paint and glass and you don't have that problem of the glass pieces sticking together.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Olga, more piles of fabric is not something I really need and becomes a deterrent when I find myself thinking about trying new surface design techniques. ;-) But I have to admit, this process has me intrigued and has the ol' brain synapses firing! And yes, I'm thinking about other monoprinting techniques on glass I've been wanting to try. Maybe this is my year for experimentation!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Mary, I was hoping you'd add some information, although I still can't see how Dyenaflow would work, even a tiny bit. I didn't think I'd dropped that much on the glass so it must take just a hair's breath. I noticed when I went back to your blog post that Gen had painter's tape on one edge of the glass. I was thinking that was just as protection of one's fingers, although I couldn't figure out why it was only on one side. Now I'm wondering if it is there to help with pulling apart the glass. Am I right?

The Idaho Beauty said...

Margaret, what a good idea! Someone in my art group also wondered if using thin plexiglass might make it easier to pull apart the two panes. I'm certainly open to suggestions!