Fabric Painting

A couple of people emailed to ask about the handpainted fabric I used in Ellie’s She-Mootah, so i wanted to provide a little bit of information.  This is a MESSY process, so I don’t have much in the way of in progress photos or a formal tutorial, but I thought I would comment on some of the things I do.

I start with some hand-dyed fabric.  I’m very fond of PFD (prepared for dye) kona cotton.  It’s nice and it keeps its hand when painted.  I crackle dye my fabric for starters (my tutorial on crackle-dye is linked at the top right-hand corner of this page), but I use a tonal range — maybe just two colors and in pale values.  The fabric I’m using here was done in a yellow ochre and a soft brown with just a hint of green in it.

Tonight I used a lot of different stamps and some punchinella on my fabric, but you can stencil, free-hand paint, foil, emboss — the range of techniques you use depends on the use you are going to make of the fabric.  Since this fabric is likely to be washed and dried, I used techniques that could be set and my favorite fabric paints, Lumiere’s from Jacquard.

I start with a piece of about 2 yards of fabric, and I tend to visually divide it, very roughly, into either thirds or quarters so I will have coordinating fabrics to work together.  Sometimes I use a totally different color palette on the different areas, but tonight I decided to use essentially the same one in all areas, thinking I would use coordinating solids and stripes with the fabric.  So here I am, already in progress and I snatched up the camera for a sec.

In_progress

Although you can’t tell here, I started by stamping, using different stamps, in white all over the fabric.

In_progress2

After the white layer, I used different stamps in different areas, starting with fairly large stamps, then going to medium ones.  Usually I try to mix up the sizes of stamps and colors, because I like that sort of unique, different placement effect you get with random stamping, but the sizes seem to unify the fabric.

Tonight I stamped a lot until there was good coverage, sometimes I have a lighter hand.  The point is to just keep going and do whatever pleases you.  I tend to conceptualize it as being a lot like doing a background on a canvas.  At this point on a canvas I would probably glaze over it and them overstamp before doing the collage work.  Here, I can either leave it at this point, or dry it and set it, and then put it in a light overdye bath for the glaze effect and more stamping.

Here are my finished, at least for now, quadrants.  The lighting is awful because I was snapping these around midnight in the very low lighting in my dining room, but you can get some idea of the design, if not of the colors.

Coffee_cups

Coffee Cups

Pairs

Pears

Fruit_slices

Fruit Slices (this one looks great in real life, sorry about the dreadful picture)

Chairs

Chairs

Posted in Art

4 thoughts on “Fabric Painting

  1. Joyce, the fabric looks wonderful and the photos and description of the process are very useful. I may have to try this.
    Joanne

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