Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Moon

I've been working on a piece for my 10,000 Flowers series titled "The Moon." I'm creating the series as part of an assignment for the ArtCloth Mastery Program. The series focuses on a favorite poem. I created four pieces with the same theme this summer, but I wasn't pleased with the way they turned out, so I'm trying a completely different approach.

This time I'm using a rayon, linen blend. It is a wonderful fabric with the look of linen and the soft drape of rayon. I used fairly bright colors for the last series, so this time I'm using a more muted color scheme. I also wanted to incorporate overdyeing and the use of resists.

The first step was to block off the large circle with freezer paper, then apply flour paste to the entire cloth. My intention was to scratch into the damp flour paste the words of the poem. But because the cloth was so long, by the time I got all the flour paste on, the paste was too dry to scratch into it. It ended up taking off gobs of paste, rather than creating a fine line of text. So, I abandoned that plan. Once the paste was dry, I brushed on thickened dye in a dark brown.

My vision was to have a value gradation so that the top of the cloth would be lighter than the bottom. I dyed it blue green first, then overdyed it orange. It sounds like a strange combination, but it makes an interesting color. It was a pretty tedious process - I used six value gradations so there was a lot of math involved in computing the dye/water ratio! It took several samples to get the color and the amount of gradation the way I wanted it.

Before I dyed it, I used an acrylic medium resist. Acrylic medium works well to block penetration of the dye. It usually takes up some of the color, so you end up with a lighter version of the dye color. I screenprinted on gel gloss medium with a thermofax in a small dot pattern. I tested all this out on a sample before I did my large piece. I compared textile medium, matte gel medium and gloss gel medium. The gel mediums tended to resist the dye better.

After I did the first dye bath, I applied soy wax so that I wouldn't lose all of that blue green. My next step is to paint the "moon" with thickened dye. I have been playing around with colors for that, mostly focusing on yellow oranges to denote a harvest moon. I wasn't satisfied with any of the colors I tried. Finally, I realized that with the background being more reddish orange, that is the direction I need to go. So, now I'm off to sample some red-orange colors. I'll post more photos as my work progresses.

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