Friday, 6 March 2015

Textiles in Focus

On the last Sunday of the half term holidays I had a day out with my Mum to the Textiles in Focus fair at Cottenham Village College, near Cambridge.

This was a three day textile fair with an exhibition from textile groups Tin Hut Textiles and Eastern Regional Textile Forum, lectures, demonstrations, workshops and traders stalls including Art Van Go. 

We had a wonderful day out, saw lots, spent too much and treated ourselves to a workshop with artist Mary McIntosh. She demonstrated how to use procion dyes with Manutex paste to create a background fabric for a future project. Procion dyes are the same dyes I used several weeks back to  experiment with Cram Jar Dyeing. See here Trying New Things

Mary showed us how to mix the dyes with Manutex to create an ink that can be used for many different purposes including screen printing and gelli printing. In this workshop we were using the inks with sponge rollers to paint onto the surface of the fabric. She demonstrated this and another method using a small square of lino to scrape the inks across the surface of the fabric to give a different effect. She showed us how to achieve a wide spectrum of colours using just six different colours of procion dyes; warm primary colours and cold primary colours. She also added black so we could dull down the colours to achieve more darker and more subtle shades.

This was my attempt. I like the brights...


I tried to work into it slowly, considering the colours and placement carefully but really I couldn't wait. I added colour after colour, layering them up to create this abstract impression of the image I was working from.


This was my image which bares no relation to the colours and composition on my fabric. I think I prefer mine anyway.


Mary suggested adding more Manutex paste to the inks to give a more diluted lighter shade of colour. I also mixed quite a bit of black into the blue tones to try and create a moody sky. 


These were the palettes. We mixed the colours directly on the palette using the sponge roller. I liked this as you could quite easily have several colours on your roller at any point making for lovely patterns and marks on the fabric.



The palettes were rather beautiful as well. 


When our pieces were complete and ready to dry they needed to be carefully wrapped up in a bin liner and left to dry out in a hot place, like an airing cupboard, for a week. After this time the fabric needs to be washed in a washing machine to remove the Manutex. I used a very small amount of Metapex in a cup inside my machine drum to help remove the Manutex.

Ta-dah.....

Well it doesn't appear to have faded much after washing which is nice. In fact it doesn't look that different really. So I took an arty shot with some daffs to jazz it up a bit :)


And some close ups too...


So many ideas!! We left the workshop buzzing with ideas and thoughts of new possibilities. Love it when that happens. Now I think I will have to do a bit of research and have a think about what to do with this lovely piece of fabric. At the moment I'm thinking about flowers and gardens very much inspired by Mary McIntosh who had printed the names of each flower in her garden in lines across her painted fabric. I like the idea of drawing collections of flowers, insects and birds using machine embroidery. Or perhaps laid out in a nature table style, things collected, found and treasured. We shall have to wait and see.

Here is a link to the artist Mary McIntosh who uses this technique among others in her own work.

Thanks for coming by, come again soon xxxxxxx