Thursday, August 27, 2009

Experiments in Deconstruction

I'm a big fan of deconstructed screen printing (DSP) ~ that's where you preprint a silk screen by placing textured objects underneath the screen, and squeegee-ing colored print paste over all of it to create impressions on the screen. After drying, you print the screen onto fabric and the impressions deconstruct as you pull each print, resulting in different images each pull.

A couple issues ago, Quilting Arts Magazine featured a technique by artist Linda Colsh, called deconstructed rubbings. And I'd been anxious to try that, so I did, this week. Deconstructed rubbings are made by rubbing watercolor crayons (I use Caran d'ache Neocolor II) on a screen that's been placed over textured objects, and then printing the screen with acrylic medium instead of print paste. The acrylic binds the water-based color onto the fabric -- just like soda ash does with fiber reactive dyes.

But I prefer not to slather acrylic onto fabric, which is one reason I try so many things with thickened dyes rather than using acrylic paint -- like monoprinting, etc. Acrylic stiffens fabric, and gives it a bit of a plastic feel. So after my initial attempt with the deconstructed rubbing process -- first photo, above -- I thought I'd try something else.

The next two samples were made with the deconstructed rubbing process -- watercolor crayon over textured objects on a silk screen -- but instead of using acrylic medium, I pretreated the fabric with Bubble Jet Set 2000 and let it dry, then used print paste to release the rubbing on the screen.

The fabrics turned out a bit stiff still, but without that acrylic plastic feel. I even washed the samples in Synthrapol, but the hand of the fabric didn't change. The fantastic part of the experiment, is that the water-based color is completely permanent on the fabric. There was no color loss at all.

It's all definitely worth trying again, and tinkering with. I do think I'll try Linda's original process again with a more liquid acrylic medium, and perhaps even water that down a bit. And I'll try it again with BSJ treated fabric, perhaps thinning down the print paste, or maybe even just using water thickened with sodium alginate.

5 comments:

Sue O'Kieffe said...

this looks like fun!

Approachable Art said...

I've been wanting to try the deconstruction with liquid medium as well, but hesitated for the reasons you stated: I was concerned it would change the hand of the fabric too much. I'm VERY interested to read of your results!

Vicki W said...

Very cool!

Sara Hopp Harper said...

Oh wow! I've just discovered BubbleJetSet. I've been amazed with it so far- now you've just opened up a whole new realm of possibilities. I can't wait to play around with it some more.

Wen Redmond said...

Try screening with extender - it's the binder when you use pigments and will probably work without stiffness