Today in the dye workshop I tried out some shibori and tie-dye techniques. I tied marbles into fabric which keeps its shape once it’s been in the heat of the dye bath, so it creates an interesting 3D effect. Another technique I used was pinching pieces of fabric and then tying the string around them tightly which created a resist.
Here are some of the pieces I made from using different techniques when tying the string on the fabric. I created this piece using the shibori technique, dyeing it in blue, then re tying the string in different areas and re-dyeing it in the red. This has made a layered effect which I really like.
I love how the colours came out on this piece of fabric because of the variation in them with brighter patches of blue. The circles have come out really well but with a nice mottled effect. I created this colour using a combination of red and blue dye.
I used pegs and paper clips as a resist for these two pieces, because they are different types of fabrics they have ended up looking completely different. The one on the left is rather subtle and faded as it’s a thin silky fabric. The one in the right picture (on the far left of the image) has more harsh shapes and colouring, because it’s on a thicker, slightly fluffy fabric and I left it to dye longer. I like both examples as they have really interesting marks and shapes in them.
Today was my first time using the dye baths at university. We didn’t go into loads of detail about which dyes are suitable for which fabrics, Steve just set it up for us and let us get to it. I experimented using plastic circle shapes to create resists on the fabric. To create this effect you fold up the fabric and then clamp a circle on either side, and then put it in the dye bath! The first and third photo are more subtle and random shapes, whereas the larger photo below has a lot more contrast and has an ordered pattern to it.
I think this piece is most successful because in terms of being a large piece of fabric it would work the best as a pattern and I like the colours I used. The photo doesn’t show it very well but I dyed it pink first using the small circles, then dyed it again in the blue and used a larger circle to create a layered effect, so the fabric has layers of pink, blue, white and purple where the colours mixed.
Another technique I tried was tie dye using a large tube. I wrapped the fabric around the tube, gathered it up and tied string on to secure it. I stood half the fabric in the pink dye and the other half in the blue and pink to create purple. I was aiming for an ombre effect and feel like it worked well! I love the interesting patterns and textures the resist of the string has had on the fabric. I enjoyed this technique because the end product is a complete surprise to you, I would love to try it again.
Today in print we used the heat press, I have done this process before but just the very basics of it. I was able to be a lot more experimental today so I ended up with some work that I am really happy with. I found some interesting techniques that create quite different effects from one other. I found I preferred the less shiny fabric to print on as it has a delicate feel and isn’t completely opaque allowing my designs to show slightly through the back which is a nice addition.
I started off with fairly simple designs that I painted onto paper and then placed into the press with my fabric. This is my most successful basic line painting that I did. It’s quite hard to know exactly how your colours will come out when printed onto the fabric, as when the inks are painted onto the paper they seem quite dark and dull, but are bright and vibrant once printed. I really like the colour combinations in this print, and I like how well the colours have layered over each other.
The first photo below shows the effect created by painting leaves with ink and using those to print marks onto my paper. This has created a natural, organic look and I love how you can see the patterns in the leaves . I think it could be improved by adding more layers with different colours and different types of leaves. I tried this technique again at the end of the day in a more organised way which worked well. The second photo shows using a leaf as a resist. I did this by putting it on top of a painted background with the fabric on top in the heat press. This technique will work well with very delicate objects e.g. a leaf skeleton or something translucent. For the third photo I had already used the lace and ribbon for the previous technique, so it had been dyed slightly by the pink coloured ink. I tried placing it back in the heat press with the dyed side down to see if it would reprint with the colour, and it worked! This is a really clever way to get intricate patterns onto fabric using found objects, I love the detail in the lace reprint.
Below is my favourite piece from the day, I love the combination of colours and the texture created by the print of the leaves. Instead of randomly printing them like previously, I decided to make a pattern with them which worked really well.
A new technique I tried and would love to use again, is painting leaves and once they are dry placing them in the heat press directly onto the fabric. I like this technique as it prints a colourful and detailed reprint of the plants details. I tried an arranged pattern with this tiny sample.
Monday’s drawing session was a combination of life and plant drawing. I focused on getting a lot of detail into my drawings and tried to get the proportions correct. We started off with the life model clothed with some plants around her, then did 20 minute drawings onto a long scroll of paper, moving into a new position around the setup for each drawing. This exercise was useful in terms of getting a good composition and picking out the best details to draw from a scene.
For the second part of the day we draped the model in fabric and arranged roses around her. We did two longer drawings of 45 minutes with this set up, changing the pose each time. This really enabled me to get the detail into my drawing and I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to portray the movement and flow of the fabric draped on the model. I am really pleased with the first drawing as I think I captured the scene realistically.
The drawing task for today was to re draw the best plant drawings I did on Monday on a larger scale and with more detail. I liked being able to focus just on the plants and love the sketchy effect the charcoal pencil has created on the first drawing. The second drawing is more linear and clear, whereas the first drawing is more shaded and detailed.
I really enjoyed the trip to St. Fagans, as there was inspiration everywhere! There was so much to look at and walk around. I loved all of the old buildings and being able to go in them and see how they would have looked in the past was really interesting. I took loads of photos and did some drawings in my small sketchbook trying out various drawing techniques. The area was so beautiful to walk around, with lots of trees, plants and flowers. Below are some of my favourite photos and drawings from the day. One of the drawing tasks was to draw the same statue from lots of different angles and in different styles. I found this task really useful as it helped me look at what I was drawing properly and in lots of detail. It also helped me be more experimental and try out various drawing styles which helped my drawing style loosen up.
We sat outside the castle on the grass and did some drawings. It was a strange atmosphere sitting next to such a historic building with the contrast of the hustle and bustle of the city moving around it. When looking at the building and the surrounding area I tried to find patterns within things using the shapes I could see within them. The castle was huge and impressive. I found it interesting how it feels like a mini world of history hidden amongst the shops.
ST JOHN THE BAPTIST CHURCH
A lovely religious building surrounded by intricate railings and a small garden. I liked the lines and shapes in the railings so I recreated this within my drawings. Unfortunately the garden and inside of the church were closed so we couldn’t look at the stained glass windows from the inside. I loved the detail I could see in the windows from the outside, and really enjoyed trying to replicate that in my drawing.