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Archive for April, 2010

overprinted sample

successive prints using disperse dye-loaded paper

The sample above is my favourite so far. I used disperse dye to print over a sample of wire knitting onto a piece of synthetic (‘peachskin’) fabric. I see it possibly as a placement print on a garment. In connection with this type of printing I have been looking at Becky Earley‘s work, particularly her Top 100 series. I saw some of these ‘upcycled’ blouses on display in Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution at the Dovecot Infirmary in Edinburgh. They make striking use of reconstruction and overprinting to create beautiful new one-off garments from vintage and second-hand found pieces. For over a decade Earley has been using her patented ‘heat photogram’ method (which as far as I can tell is similar in principle to what I have done here) and has more recently applied this to the reconstruction and upcycling of used garments to breathe new life into old textiles. She also uses exhaust printing, which puts the unused dye chemicals back into the process rather than discarding them with the waste water, thus using each load of dye until the pigment is spent and saving on harmful waste products. In the sample on the right, the same dye-loaded paper was re-used, resulting in a faded effect in later prints. I am interested in using this idea of making one standard item into a new and different garment through overprinting and stitch techniques.

smocking sample before and after overprinting

This one was lattice smocked in peachskin and then overprinted with disperse dye. I wasn’t particularly taken with the result at first, but it has grown on me. I like how the overprinting throws the structure of the stitching into relief, and think it could be a decorative alternative to gathering or darts in a garment. In this woven fabric it has a small amount of stretch – I have yet to experiment with the technique in a knitted fabric.

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