Nina's Textile Trail

My OCA Textile Tales

Part 2 Building a Visual Vocabulary – Stage 4 Developing Design ideas – Experiments with Printing & Painting – DISCHARGING FABRIC

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This section is all about experimenting with Printing and Painting and we are encouraged to supplement the notes provided by consulting the reading list.  I read Jane Dunnewold’s book, A Guide to Surface Design for Printing.  I found it to be very clear and explanatory with chapters covering adding colour with dyes and textile paints, removing colour with discharge methods, stamps and stencils, print and pattern with water-based resists, screen printing, foiling and leafing.  Whilst I could happily have spent several weeks working through the book making numerous samples, I chose to experiment with discharging fabric which is new to me.

I used formusol which is bought in powder form and can be added to water to use through a spray or to print paste.  Once applied it is left to dry and then ironed to activate the discharge process.  After I had ironed a few I realised that you can choose the amount of discharge by adjusting the length of time you apply the iron.

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Left: Commerical cotton discharged with formusol and manutex paste applied with brush at the bottom of the page and sprayed through cotton lace at the top.  The application through lace was not very successful although I think I used too much spray which continued to soak into the material losing the potential for a more delicate pattern from the lace.  I like the texture achieved by applying with a brush but think it would have been more obvious if I had ironed it for a little less time.

Right: Machine dyed (at home) recycled curtain discharged with formusol and water sprayed over cotton daisy chain at the bottom of page.  Unsuccessful attempt at top when sprayed through gauze bandage.

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Left:  Commercial cotton velvet discharged with formusol and manutex paste.  Handpainted on top and stamped with cork on bottom.

Right: Cotton denim discharged with formusol and manutex paste hand painted with fine brush.

Cotton velvet discharged beautifully.  Also like the denim.  Tried another denim sample from some old jeans but the formusol had no effect whatsoever.

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Left: Own hand dyed (twice) calico bandage dishcharged with formusol and manutex paste applied with flat paintbrush. Not very interesting.

Right: Own double dyed old cotton sheet discharged with formusol and manutex paste applied with credit card edge. Like the contrast been the dark red and white and the patterns created on the left by scraping the paste with the credit card.

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Left: Commercial cotton discharged with formusol and manutex paste hand painted with a fine paintbrush.  This commercial fabric didn’t discharge much colour.

Right: Own hand dyed cotton sheet discharged with formusol and manutex paste applied with cardboard cylinder at bottom and wire egg cup on top.  Really like the effect on the mottled fabric on top right.

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Both hand dyed lightweight cotton on left, calico on right, discharged with formusol and manutex paste using an acrylic stencil and the cut out.  Left hand fabric has unsuccessful blobs where paste was applied with a natural sponge.  I particularly like the mottled effect on the right hand page on the thicker calico.

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Both hand dyed with masks applied as left hand picture and formusol and water lightly sprayed onto the cloth.

The top left yellow fruit bag was unsuccessful.  I like the subtlety of the alphabet stencil which was very lightly sprayed and ironed.

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Hand dyed cotton sheeting.  I love the way this fabric has discharged back to the pale turquoise.  The colour of the fabric is truer on the right.  The textured wallpaper plate (bottom middle right hand picture)  did have an acetate leaf mask on it which didn’t work well, but I love the texture created by the rest of the print. Also the elastic bands under the label created an interesting effect.

The label on the front cover is printed on heat transfer paper for dark fabrics, cut out and ironed on. It has a matt, slightly plasticky feel, I think there are better quality makes with a softer hand but it is simple and easy to use and I will add it to my resources.

I also used formusol on some black cotton drill which appeared to have worked when I ironed the fabric:

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but the following day the effects had disappeared and the fabric returned to black.  I managed to discharge it with household bleach but it needed such a thick application to have any effect that any subtlely in the pattern was lost.

I really enjoyed experimenting with discharging fabric.  I think the effects on hand dyed fabric are the most interesting with the cotton velvet also being very successful.  The potential for using formusol to create really complex cloth adding and subtracting colour is an exciting prospect to explore in future.

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