Other than safety guidelines, there are few imperatives when working with resists. When someone says "you can't do that", or "that will never work", that indicates an innovation in the making. I'll admit that I have told workshop participants that something wouldn't work, only to have my recommendations ignored. And on many occasions the end results were intriguing.
Those experiences led me to try things with resists that don't fit with conventional wisdom. Immersing cloth with a flour paste resist is a good example. Most people use flour paste for the crackle effect. If you immerse it, the dye will penetrate the flour and you won't get that crackle, right? Well, I decided to try it for myself just to see what happens. (Photos below) It certainly looks different than hand painted flour paste, but I really like the effect.
Now I'm an advocate for trying different things. Even if I haven't had success with a technique, that doesn't mean someone else won't approach it differently and achieve a good result. Remain open to using the resists in an unconventional manner. You never know what you will discover!
|Flour paste, hand painted with thickened dye|
|Flour paste, immersed in dye|
Cornstarch is another good example. It forms a very smooth paste and is great for screenprinting and direct applications. It "doesn't work" for the crackle effect, because it forms a flexible coating that doesn't crack.
|Freshly made cornstarch|
Now look at week-old cornstarch. After sitting a few days, the consistency becomes jelly-like and is difficult to reconstitute into a smooth paste. The chunky paste was applied to the entire cloth below, and it did crack when dry, creating a unique pattern.
|Oatmeal, hand painted once dry|
|Oatmeal, painted while damp|
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