30 June 2017

Handling soy wax and thickened dye


I had a lot of comments about washing the table cover so I sprayed it with soda ash water then folded and placed it in a zip lock bag. Then I added a splash of soda ash water and sealed it. It had been raining all day but there was a cessation and although cloudy I ran out side and hung it on the line. The sky cleared and a nice breeze dried the "former" table cover.


Let me tell you a bit about this process. 

It is actually very informative if you follow it through. Judith and I do a of of batik using thickened dyes. Early on we learned that trying to wash out still wet or even damp thickened dye could be a disaster. Smear city with the colored dyes bleeding all over the piece. This is what we do with impeccable results.


  • Many times we batik on fabric that is NOT pre-treated with soda ash. So when finished with our session we spray the front and back of the piece which was JUST FINISHED with soda ash water. We feel that within 15 minutes the fibers have soaked in the dye. This does not mean we don't batch. Next:
  • After spraying the piece, we cover it in plastic bin bags (I wash mine and use them over and over). Then I fold the piece covered in plastic into a small bundle making sure the wet sprayed fabric is touching plastic. Many time I cover the piece in bin bags flip it over and cover the other side at least partially so that wet fabric always touches plastic. Now it is a plastic covered bundle. I usually just throw it on the floor for batching or if it's cold in a warmer sunny place.
  • After an hour (minimum) or days if it's raining I take the plastic covered bundle out side, peel off the plastic as I open the bundle and peg it out on the clothes line.






  • After the piece (covered in soy wax and dried dye) is bone dry I take it off the line and back into the kitchen. I place it in a plastic basin from the Dollar Tree (a store) and boil a kettle. On a piece this size (45 X 96), it requires two kettles of boiling water. I pour the first electric kettle (2L) in the basin and immediately boil another 2 L. When that is done, I place the fabric in the boiling water and pour the second kettle over it. Then I add Ivory dish washing liquid (generous amount) over the whole thing. **Note the soap will not dissolve the wax but it will disperse it. I use tongs and move the boiled soapy fabric around until I feel that the wax is melted. Then I roll the fabric around the tongs (like spaghetti on a fork) and press it all around against the side of the sink. 
  • I may or may not rinse it in the hottest water but after rolling as much liquid out of the fabric as possible I transfer it holding something under it because it will drip into the washer and do a short (30 min) washing with cold water. I would suggest Synthropol or Prosopol (ProChems version of Synthropol). 


  •  After drying it (you can feel there is no wax left), I iron it. I have used this technique successfully even with heavy linen which I use a lot. 
This is the washed, dried, and ironed table cover:


It is "OK" but I will either add another layer or two or use it as background.






I took this picture because it looked like wax was still on it but it is clean and waxless cotton


A new 45 X 96 cotton cover going on.


28 June 2017

26 June 2017

Try out

I am auditioning some fabric for a piece I really don't care about. It's a bit too realistic for my taste but I made SIX of the skies with trees so just for the heck of it, I will make one landscape. It can't hurt.

These are just a few of the fabrics I am auditioning.



23 June 2017

Let's see what fits


These are two foregrounds up again the same horizon. I also have another horizon that looks the same with the same hues but darker.


Which foreground do you like better?


21 June 2017

Foregrounds washed, ironed and finished (almost)


These first two were not re-dyed after this wash-out.



This came out a very light intensity. Needs more work.



This is possibly the ugliest fabric I ever made. Each layer added more "ugliness" to it. Ironically I am cutting off the left strip to actually use.



These were the pieces I put big wax dots on to hold the color off so that I could add a different color after washing. Here they are in their last two stages: 

This first one was quite a light green, almost limey. I later added "bubble gum" dots then over dyed the entire piece in a medium olive bath. to knock down that light green.



This piece gave me one of the best outcomes in that I used both dark green and olive together to get that vari-color. I will use this technique again.



The dots didn't add much but, oh well.



                               I am actually using this (above) foreground in my first finished "horizon"



This was a really wide piece so I did half purple and turquoise and the other purple and pink. I may use the turquoise half. I don't think I will repeat the "DOT" experiment again...


19 June 2017

More foregrounds


Another wonderful day of play with thickened dye. I made some preliminary sketches and notes yesterday when I had a few minutes and I was anxious to get started. I did "all these things" before starting thinking after "all that" it was about 8:30. It was 6:35. I stopped at 10:40 to go out to lunch with Brian and this is what I made in those hours.


Sketchbook notes and watercolor sketches from yesterday


First go at a solid immersion dyed background. The dots were waxed to keep the color of the background off the dots and tomorrow I will dye the dots pink or purple.






Dried on the line - not even rung out. I will use boiling water to remove the wax, wash, iron and add the pink or purple dye.


These dots will also be colored. I will determine color after holding it up to various horizons to see which colors the foreground may enhance. 


A new kinder gentler olive. Hope it holds up.




This is is STILL so busy that I think it is beyond help. After washing and drying I will hold it up to some of the horizons.


Inside while wet.





16 June 2017

OK, just looking

I am "just looking" although I think one I'll start actually making into a finished piece is the second one. On this first one I need to create some sort of darker horizon line that will perk this up OR I can scrap making it for now.






This one I absolutely love and I also have another horizon just like this one but in more vivid colors. I may end up using that but at least I know the two pieces look OK together. Actually they look better than OK.











14 June 2017

Meanwhile something else


I previously LWI dyed this Goodwill shirt and having gotten my thermofax screen out I decided to screen on my feather screen with turquoise ProChem fabric paint. No great shakes but it was fun.






12 June 2017

Resolving the foregrounds (attempting)


I think I am happy with two of the foregrounds at least for now. I want to make five pieces all at once so I had to calm down and determine to just work on finishing one while resolving issues with the other foregrounds. 
One of the worst offenders was the dark striped fabric that was "supposed" to look like rows of whatever growing in a field and was to be used vertically. Well that wasn't going to happen. The light was way too light and the dark looked like death. What to do?? Dream. Yes, while dreaming I came up with two answers to problems. This was the first:


I used the thermofax screen of "grass" and Jacquard Discharge paste. This was my set up on my ugly ironing board with the discharge paste on a piece of scrap  Plexiglas using a credit card.


In case you were wondering why I covered my ironing table with such ugly fabric, that's why. It was ugly and useless. I concentrated on the two dark bands of color: olive and dark green.



I absolutely LOVE this effect.


Now on to the rope stamped fabric I waxed (batiked) in straight lines


I used the "grass" again with discharge paste


Better but another layer is needed. I need something to break up the grid-like appearance. Maybe "wheat" and/or "grass" in olive thickened dye (????) More contemplation needed. I am telling myself Don't Rush!! 




09 June 2017

finished (somewhat) foregrounds



This is boring and needs something. I am thinking about Discharge paste in a pattern. Too grid-like.


This is not only boring but a bit overwhelming


I might be able to work with this


This one I like


This looks like camouflage plus the light green is too yellow. MOST of the light green in these pieces is too yellow. More thinking and more layers needed. 


07 June 2017

Horizons need foregrounds



I made these "foregrounds or field a while ago when I first started the landscape series. Wow, that WAS a long time ago!!. They did come out as intended but way to light. This was my problems with my first attempts at horizons. 








Rope stamp above and batik striped fabric below.


Maybe a blender filled with Margarita's sets your heart to pitter patter but I prefer a blender of thick print paste!!


I mixed up three greens. With my olive I was a bit to generous when adding the dye powder. It is very dark. I also made a batch of "dark green" (name of dye) and I also made my own green with sun yellow and basic blue then tapped in just a whiff of "dark green" dye to intensify the color a bit.


I returned to my Plexiglas palette and huge sea sponge.


I did three rows with a gradation of the three greens.


This was the start of "bushes" in two colors on the striped green batik.


I used a tool invented by my friend Marcella's brother, Mark, who is also an artist. Thanks Mark for a great tool. He calls it a chrysanthemum and I have used it before on the blog when making paste paper. 


Filled fabric in three shades of green. I used the tool as a stamp.


This fabric was my wonderful rope stamped batik with stripes of hot wax colored in dark green and olive dye.


Striped batik with wavy lines of hot wax colored in three shades of green


I made one more panel on the rope stamp fabric and used the chrysanthemum tool with a twist. However I forgot to photograph it. You'll see it finished in the next post.

It's raining buckets so I've strung up a line in the Art Greenhouse.


That last piece with the tool twist in three colors of green


My temporary drying line. Yes, I dry all my dyes on the line then wash out when completely dry. There is no bleeding. Batiks get the boiling water and Ivory dish soap treatment (disperses wax but doesn't dissolve it)  then directly in the washing machine.