Saturday, March 6, 2010

Serendipity on Cloth

Last week I traveled to Ingram, Texas to teach a monoprinting workshop at the Hill Country Arts Foundation. I had a great time. It was a fun group and I even learned some new things myself!
We started out dyeing fabrics to use for discharge monoprinting and overprinting.

Monoprinting is a technique in which paints or thickened dyes (we used both over the course of the three days) are applied to a printing plate, and then transferred to the fabric. There are so many different approaches to monoprinting. Some people paint a design on the plate. My favorite technique is to apply the paints and then use a variety of brushes, sponges or other tools to create a textured surface.

We worked with plexiglass, gelatin and heavy plastic drop cloths as printing plates. The gelatin plates are great for getting very detailed prints with leaves. We also did wholecloth monoprinting in which the design is created on a plastic drop cloth and a large piece of fabric is placed on top of the dye. This technique is easier to do with thickened dyes, because they don't dry as quickly as paints.

We also monoprinted with color removing agents, such as bleach and discharge paste, instead of paints or dyes. This technique is great with a dark fabric that needs a little patterning or texture. Rather than straight bleach, we used household cleaning products with bleach. Below, Terry uses toilet bowl cleaner to discharge black fabric. Toilet bowl cleaner is the perfect consistency for many printing techniques.

Sara used double plate monoprinting to create a Rorschach-type effect. For double plate monoprinting, you apply the paints or dyes to a the printing plate (Sara used a plastic report cover), then place another plate on top and press the two together. When you pull the plates apart, the suction leaves an interesting pattern.

One of the participants, Lana Book, runs a B&B in the area and I had the pleasure of staying there on this trip.

The Elm Cottage is a wonderful place. It is located a short drive from downtown Kerrville, but has a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere. The cottage I stayed in has a separate bedroom and sitting area.

Lana and her husband have done a great job turning the property into an oasis. It has a sculpture and meditation garden, a canyon, walking trails and lots of places to sit quietly and enjoy the surroundings.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable week and look forward to going back in September!

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