Saturday, August 8, 2009

Blogging, In General

I often receive comments about the fact that my blog is published quite frequently despite the fact that it is called 'Diana's Occasional Blog'. I must confess I was somewhat nervous about this whole blogging thing when I started, and I wasn't too sure whether I would have enough stuff to blog about. Many blogs seem to 'die' before they really get started so my title was somewhat of a safety net. I have now been blogging for over a year and I really enjoy it! My fears about not having enough content have not been founded and I am delighted that people find my blog of interest.

Here are some thoughts on blogging and why I do it (in no particular order):

I enjoy writing.
Having been involved in textile tutoring (to adults) for 27 years, I am programmed to share my experiences.
I now seem to be doing alot more experimenting with techniques. It is very easy to think 'I must try that sometime...' and of course it usually doesn't happen. My blog gives me an incentive and a focus to try new things, and then report on the outcomes.
I enjoy reading other people's blogs, and being part of a community through a shared interest.

So there you are... I intend to be around for awhile yet!

Another find at the Saturday market. A microwave muffin tray, costing NZ$2, ideal for mixing small dye amounts. The dye doesn't seem to stain it, but I think pigments will. So, dyes only please......

Getting there in my 12 series... detail from number eight; four more to do.

75 days until my exhibition

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Testing, testing

Okay. I've done it! Here is my first attempt with my BIG screen. This is an exercise in process rather than content. My intentions are to use this screen for printing lengths of fabric, and for one-off art pieces.

The screen is propped up with blocks so that the mesh is not touching the printing table underneath. I have mixed some black Procion MX dye with water, and then painted the circles on to the mesh, and left it to dry.

The dry screen resting on soda ash soaked calico (muslin) and the corners secured with clamps.

Clear sodium alginate resting in long side well. It is usual to screen from the short ends with a squeegee that reaches across the width and I may evenually obtain one of these.

Here I am about to do a second run with the squeegee. The sodium alginate does get contaminated with the colours painted on to the screen and I save this in a container labelled as such. This can be used as a basis for mixing a coloured sodium alginate at a later date, the amount of contamination doesn't seem to affect the new colour - it can often improve it! I could of course have screened this piece with a coloured sodium alginate but it is a only test piece.

All done! Washing the dye residue off the screen with garden hose on high pressure.

The printed calico (muslin) batching to set the dyes.

Close up of printing. The sodium alginate shows up as wet on the undyed fabric. Camera flash light reflexing off lower centre circle.

And here is the outcome, washed and ironed. Certainly not inspirational but the 'doing' was the intent here.

78 days to my exhibition

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Silk Screen

I have a new toy! (Actually that should read tool). I have always enjoyed working with a silk screen and have a collection of various sizes, mostly small scale. Some are blanks, and others have photosensitive images or drawing fluid/screen filler images on the mesh. Recently I decided I needed a BIG one and placed an order for this from a local textile printing supplier. Last week it arrived and I must confess I had a moment of anxiety at the reality of the size. Since then I have sealed the wood with polyurethane, scoured the mesh, and taped the outer edges of the mesh. I have made the taped sides a bit wider than is normal so that if I wish to use the screen sideways I can use these as the printing wells (I live on my own and this may be the easier way for me to work). Although the screen is now ready for use I have purchased two draw handles to be placed halfway down each side to give secure lift (builder son is to fix these for me). The inside screen measurements are 118cm x 65cm / 46" x 25.5" and this allows me to print a full fabric width of 114cm / 45". I have now to start working through the processes of using it.

Here is my new screen resting against my car (note number plate; UPPFAB stands for Uppity Fabrics and smaller letters read Hand-dyed Fabrics), and a garage work chair. As this is a large screen and the mesh is drum tight, the long wooden sides have bowed slightly. This is not a problem as I have made sure the side tapes are straight.

And yes, here is another piece (seventh) completed in my series of 12. Detail only. I am very pleased with this one.

80 days until my exhibition (I forgot to include this in my previous blog!)