Friday, August 22, 2008

Weird Science

Dyed handwoven silk fabric before shibori gathering
Dyed handwoven silk fabric before shibori gathering This is a silk woven shibori piece that I wove early this year but just got around to dyeing. I've been thinking about it for weeks, now, and finally "under" painted it yesterday -- that's when I paint dyes on the woven fabric before gathering and doing the final dye to bring out the shibori patterns. I painted it with the same cool colors I used on the painted warp I did last week -- apple green, green, turquoise and violet. The colors were great but I didn't at all like the way they looked applied to the fabric. I think this was my lesson in hand painting a big piece (this one's 18 x 90" or so), that it's difficult to do successfully, at least with what I had had in mind originally.

Well, I dried the fabric last night and thought about it, and pondered my next move, and finally decided that I'd discharge the whole thing this morning. I used thiox and immersion discharged the entire piece. Discharging is removing the color and there are several chemicals that can be used. I chose thiox (thiourea dioxide) because it is safe for silk (whereas chlorine bleach, which works well on cellulose fibers, will destroy silk if not handled extremely carefully).

But the thiox didn't remove all the color -- the originally naturally white silk was now a light orange yellow. Although I considered returning to some of my original color scheme, I quickly abandoned that in favor of colors that would be compatible with the now-yellow orange silk. I chose the same apple green as before, because it had a lot of yellow in it already, plus an orange brown. After washing and neutralizing the fabric with mild soap and vinegar following the discharge bath, I scrunched it up horizontally and fit it into one of my dye pans -- those stainless steel buffet table hot pans, which I use over a deeper pan like a double magnificently for dyeing fiber and yarn that have had dyes applied directly rather than by immersing in water. Then I painted the new colors on, and lastly applied some black dye with a pointed squeeze bottle.

Long story long, the results are at top of this post. I'm really happy with it at this stage of development. And I haven't even gathered the fabric yet!! Sometimes artists have to have cojones -- even us women artists!


Kim said...

fascinating process Connie Rose with beautiful results :)
I have an award for you at my site
cheers Kim

Peg in South Carolina said...

This is really interesting! for me, going through so many different processes is quite scary. I know about this sort of thing in surface design, but that's not using my precious handwoven fabric! I can hardly wait to see the finished results. Thank you for sharing this process.

Connie Rose said...

Thanks for your comments, Peg & Kim. And thanks for the award Kim! I appreciate it!

Susan Italo said...

This is going to be yummy! I love the direction it's going in.
You are one brave woman to "go back" with the discharge process. Thank you for sharing your thought process (as well as the actual process!) Sometimes it helps to hear about what an artist doesn't like. It's also helpful to hear about how she resolves what she doesn't like!
I'm anxiously awaiting the final pix!

Connie Rose said...

Thanks Susan. I'm thinking, now, about my next step with this piece, so stay tuned!