The first, fabric print chosen for re-working this week was the truck print - a print from a previous trial over a year ago. This was an easy one. I chose Prismacolor pencils for reworking the colour because of their staying power. Textile artists sometimes work with these wax based pencils which become reasonably permanent after setting with a hot iron. However, some colour can still be lost when washed and fabric artists often use heat-set, fabric mediums such as GAC 900 (Golden's Heat-set Fabric Painting Medium) or similar medium for stabilising colour on fabric.
Now, as anyone who has read my two, previous, 'printing on fabric' posts will know, I am only using stuff that I find in my studio, office, home or sewing stash to do these prints and make grocery bags. Of course, I do not have any GAC 900 - that would be too easy (I am not a textile artist). I do, however, have GAC 100 (Golden's Multi-purpose Acrylic Polymer) which can be used to seal against 'Support Induced Coloration' according to Golden. That is, it provides a barrier to stop discolouration leaching from the support (canvas, wood etc) up through the surface painting. So, I reckoned it should be able to stop colour leaching from my fabric. In any case I was going to give it a try.
The truck was recoloured with the Prismacolor pencils and sealed with GAC 100. I dried it with a hairdryer set on hot and then ironed it (under a cloth) as the pencils benefit from heat setting.
It was washed, dried in a clothes dryer and then ironed again. The colour held well except in a couple of areas - particularly the grill and bumper - maybe I missed these bits with the GAC 100. I was happy with its aged appearance.
Hessian and curtain fabric were used for the grocery bag.
Now, I decided to tackle the Little Annan Gorge print with oil sticks. My oil sticks which had been stored in a plastic container and not used for a few years were really sticky and yukky to touch but were still okay to use. Some of them didn't spread well on the fabric leaving thick, unsightly lumps. The transparent, medium, oil stick came to the rescue for thinning out thick lumps. I found, that if I laid down a thin layer of the transparent medium first, the coloured oil sticks would glide across the fabric and it also assisted with colour blending. Eventually, the print was coloured to my liking. I lifted off excess paint thickness with kitchen paper and left it to dry - until the next day when impatience set in.
The hairdryer was put to work once again. As I waved the hair dryer over the oil stick painting, oil and wax bubbled to the surface. This was blotted with the kitchen paper. I worked on it for about half an hour before going for a cuppa. After another half an hour of of drying and mopping with kitchen paper its surface was dry enough to scan. Then, I left it to dry by itself for a couple of days.
While the oil stick painting was left to dry, I decided to do another experimental print on fabric. Because the card/paper backing was a bit difficult to remove after being glued to the fabric in the previous experiments, I wondered if there was some other way of adhering fabric to card. I needed something sticky that wouldn't set like glue - honey came to mind. Worth a try, I thought.
Using some lightweight cardstock I dabbed honey on the card and spread it sparingly (didn't want it coming through the fabric) across its surface. A piece of calico was pressed onto the honeyed card. I chose an image (one of my around Australia drawings of an old vehicle at Coolgardie) and set it to print. Well, honey wasn't the best choice. The fabric slipped, buckled and folded slightly causing a black ink mark across the right side of the print.
Now, as I have said previously, I don't give up easily. Nothing is ever 'destroyed' if I can help it. I try to work with the mistakes, so decided to add a second, black, Prismacolor, 'fold' line to the left side of the print. A white highlight was also added to match the bit of print missed beside the original mark. The printed fabric removed easily from the backing card. I sealed both sides with GAC 100 hoping to stabilize the colour. The printer ink bled a little with the GAC 100 but I was able to minimise this by lifting some of the stray colour off with a little, extra GAC 100 on the tip of a brush. I dried the print with the hairdryer. Because the edges were still a bit sticky from the honey I chose not to heat set with the iron before washing.
Colour washed out but not as much as with the previous fabric prints.
I added more colour with Prismacolor pencils, sealed with GAC 100, dried with hairdryer and heat set with the iron.
This was rewashed, dried and ironed. Sorry - forgot to scan but the colour held really well. I thought that the print would benefit from the addition of touches of gold. First, I experimented with gold ink, gold acrylic and gold embossing powder (mixed with GAC 100) on a piece of calico which I washed and dried. A combination of gold ink (dark gold) and gold acrylic (bright gold) won the day. While the gold ink partially washed out, the gold acrylic was stable and the combination was stable. This combination was added to the print in select places. I also added copper acrylic to the red areas of the old car. This was all coated with another layer of GAC 100, dried with the hairdryer and heat set with the iron. I didn't wash it again as I had already tested the stability of the metallic paints.
Finally, I came back to the Little Annan Gorge print painting. It had been left to dry for a couple of days. This time, I ironed it between layers of kitchen paper. A little oil/wax was lifted out but before long the oil stick paint was fully dried. I re-scanned it because some colour had lifted away with the oil/wax - not enough to worry about, though.
It was then washed, dried and re-ironed. Most of its colour was kept intact.
The last, two grocery bags were cut out and sewn together.
My next problem was finding something to use as solid base inserts - like the black bases in the IGA bags. First, I found an old blue vinyl placemat that had been recycled as a cutting mat in my studio, after it was past being used as a placemat. It was quickly cut to shape and popped into one of the bags.
Then, I was stumped. I couldn't find anything else to use until I had another look this morning. I eventually found a couple of old, plastic, bank statement folders. They were the perfect size and sturdiness. I removed the attachment that held the statements in place in the grey folder (CBA folder) which left a couple of holes. I reckoned a couple of holes were irrelevant (only one of the holes ended up as part one of the inserts). The statement folders were cut into shape and placed in the other three bags.
The grocery bags are now ready to take shopping and the only plastics in them are the recycled, base inserts. They will be teamed with the open weave, (curtain material), vegetable bags that I made for our trip around Australia - need to make a few bigger vege bags as well.
Until next time
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I have had a lifetime passion for drawing and painting. Realistic with an impressionistic touch is an apt description for my work.
Artist Diary 5
Artist Diary 4
Artist Diary 3
Diary of a tired artist continued
Diary of a tired artist.
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A bit more about my drawings.
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