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Tag Archives: Screen printing
There are no review questions at the end of this assignment so I’ll just make a few notes to keep as a reference for the future. What were the main differences between using fabric paints and dyes as a print … Continue reading
Here we are required to explore our assignment sketchbook work to produce design ideas in a small format before choosing one to develop further. Most of my designs were done in Photoshop. I found this gave me a lot of … Continue reading
I’ve read extensively throughout this section as my screen printing knowledge was scant at best. Even now I realise that I’ve only scratched the surface. The notes provided in the course were excellent and provided a good start point. An … Continue reading
It didn’t take long for the discharge paste to dry so I was soon ready to steam my samples. My TUD instructions tell me to hover the iron over the fabric and I should see the colour fade. Once it is at the stage I like I should stop and then wash the remainder of the product out.
For some inexplicable reason – other than it was one of those days when nothing was going to go right first time – the iron decided to spit water onto my piece just as I was about finished.
Whilst this wasn’t what I wanted at all it did give me some interesting water stains which you can see on the close-up picture. So now I’m thinking about how I can exploit that technique in the future. Meantime, I swapped to another iron for the next pieces.
The dark grey cotton, commercially dyed, was much harder to activate and took longer to discharge than the green piece above. I didn’t go so far with this one and I wish I had done a bit more so the effect is stronger. On the green the powder resist is quite evident around the outer edges of the pattern but I’ve lost it completely on the grey. On the second grey sample I slowly swung the iron from side to side so the steam holes – aligned along the outer edges of the iron – moved laterally across the piece. Hence the discharge pattern.
It actually looks much more effective in real life than here.
So, not bad considering the TUD never really dissolved properly. I’ve still got some of it mixed up and will use it over the next day or two. Continue reading
An angst ridden day.
I started the day confidently, ready to mix up my discharge paste for use this afternoon.
The product available to me is called TUD, which is short for Thiourea Dioxide, and comes in powder form. The instructions say:
Dissolve 2 tablespoons of TUD in 200nl of boiling water. Stir well and add cold water to make a total of 500ml. Allow to cool. In a separate container, dissolve 2 teaspoons DR33 (thickening paste powder)with a little methylated spirits. Add the first solution to this, stirring well, and leave to thicken for around an hour.
I stumbled at the very first part. The TUD simply wouldn’t dissolve. I stirred it for 20 minutes with zero effect so I shot off an email to the supplier asking for advice. She came back with TUD isn’t the most co-operative powder when dissolving, but it does dissolve, just add more hot water. Hmm….. If it dissolves in boiling water and I’ve been stirring for 20 minutes so it is now stone cold what is the point of adding more hot water to the mix as I can’t get it to boiling point again? I decided to stick it in the microwave and heat up the original solution and see what happened. Well it got very hot and still wouldn’t dissolve.
What next? Rather than waste it (as I get it mail order and don’t have very much to play with) I decided to stir it into some of my ready prepared thickened paste and see what happened. It only occurred to me afterwards that the thickened paste is made up with chemical water containing Urea whereas the instructions for the TUD say to use it as the wetting agent for the DR33 to make up the paste – but I didn’t want to waste the ready mixed paste. Anyway, what harm can extra Urea make? Frankly, I’ve got no idea. It’s a wetting agent, isn’t it?
The piece of fabric to the right was dyed by a friend of mine and is a medium weight cotton with this lovely variegated green. I am trying to work on the more coloured area. The grey is a commercial patchwork fabric that has been washed to remove size.
I prepared my screen, going back to my plastic-paper feet from previous work and some powder resist so I don’t get a fully solid discharge.
Quite a lot of the powder has remained on the fabric but I’m sure that will either wash or wipe off after the process is complete. I’m doing no more until they are dry and I can try the steaming to activate the discharge because if it doesn’t work, due to the undissolved TUD, I’ll have to start again from scratch. Continue reading
Stage 3 – A Larger Piece (finished)
Having lost a lot of colour out of samples prior to this I wondered whether I hadn’t kept them warm enough whilst batching and the soda ash hadn’t really activated properly. So I took a tip from a friend regarding a (hopefully) better batching method. Having covered the surface with cling film I folded it carefully then rolled it into a circular sausage, finishing with it swaddled in an outer coat of cling film. I was careful not to squash it and ensured no wet dye could touch another area and transfer or blur the design. This was then placed inside a padded electric heat pack similar to a mini electric blanket. The heat was on a low level for around 8-9 hours.
The base colour of this design was turquoise and I was shocked to see how much ran out when rinsing. The fabric went into the synthrapol, was rinsed again and finally had a short cool rinse and spin in the washing machine. Here is the result:
Quite a bit of colour was lost but I like the result. It still has a difference in tone throughout which maintains some depth to the piece. The red based motifs have brightened and added some life to it. To my eye it isn’t a fully resolved piece but as a sample for the purpose of the course it has demonstrated various techniques: mixing, strengthening and diluting colours from a single base colour, adding motifs and assessing suitability of precise shapes when using dyes, repositioning of screen for multiple overprints and working wet-on-wet with a design goal in mind. Continue reading
Stage 3 – A Larger Piece
Moving on from the wax resist and Vilene prints, today I worked on producing a larger piece of fabric with a repeat pattern using my plastic paper motif previously explored with the fabric paints. It will be good to compare the results of the two techniques.
Firstly a bit of an issue with the combined dye / print paste mixture. Obviously I had some left over from my previous printing so I expected to be able to pick them straight up again today and use them – keeping in mind that I thought they may have been slightly thick last time. They had solidified a little more in the tubs so I used some spare (clear) thickened paste – which for some reason had not thickened any more (wonder whether there is some kind of a reaction once the dyes have been added?) to dilute the colour and make it more useable. The first one looked pretty good and ready to go but as I went on down this route not all of them were working. With some colours, mainly the darker ones, I managed one partial pull before the thick dyes sort of rolled up into jelly strings and wouldn’t push through the mesh. They rolled along the surface of the screen like big globules. I could even pick them up with my fingers and not get any dye on me as they seemed to have a dryish skin / surface. Very, very odd. What should I do next?
I put a little dye paste in a tub and added chemical water to liquify it more, mixing very firmly as lumps were already forming. Once smooth I added more of the dye paste until I had got it the right consistency and colour. Then I tried printing again and it worked. The dyes were as good as first time round, in fact better because they flowed across the surface more easily than last time. I’m not sure what was happening but adding more chemical water and a bit of fresh paste to my premixed thickened dyes seemed to work. I’m sure there is some whizz out there who can explain the chemical reactions to me but at this stage I’m just glad I finally managed to print something.
Once my mixing problems were resolved I started with turquoise and reduced the ratio to print paste to get a lovely light colour to start laying down my background. Leaving the screen dirty I added more of this mix + a little more stronger turquoise. This gave me the couple of streaky areas you can see above. Didn’t like that so, from this point, I premixed every colour to get an even colour change without the streaks. Then I went a little darker again. To the original pale turquoise I added a smidge of red to get the light purple, then this was darkened. All up, the background consists of six colour mixes, all starting from turquoise.
The motifs used two different colour mixes – bright red with a tiny touch of black and ultramarine blue with a touch of black. I’m really looking forward to seeing the colours once the batching is complete.
The whole piece is around 1.5m x 70cm and was obviously worked damp on damp. This caused some ghosting as the screen was constantly being placed back down on top of other colours and picked up some of the dyes. Here I tried to minimise that effect but actually I think working in this manner almost guarantees you are going to get some of this happening. For my own interest and pleasure I’m going to do another piece and allow the screen to pick up whatever it wants and transfer it all over the cloth – not quite breakdown printing but still a more random effect that I’ve been trying for so far.
I’m learning that this seems to be the point when screen printing with dyes. If I continue down this route I’m going to get some lovely shapes happening but they are going to be a little fuzzy. However, what I love about the dyes is that they really do sink into the fabric and not just look like they are on the surface like the paints. Both methods have their place. Maybe I should dye print a base and overprint it with paints to get a design that seems to be an integral part of the fabric but with a sharp motif on top. Continue reading