For my last challenge piece, 'Lettering', I was inspired to use a technique from the book 'Paper & Metal Leaf Lamination' by Claire Benn, Jane Dunnewold & Leslie Morgan. As my new pigment printer is now not working (another story), I wanted to find another way of 'printing' on fabric for the challenge.
Going through some of my art DVD's one rainy afternoon, I watched the video that comes with this book and was immediately inspired.
I started by printing out my selected images using a laser printer with normal copy paper. I then cut these images to the approximate size I wanted. I made sure I cut off all of the unwanted white edges, as, through my testing process, learned that you don't want to use any unwanted paper as you will only have to remove it later and may not give you the result you are looking for.
I then laid them out and played with them until I had my desired result. To make it easier to get the size I needed, I penciled a 15 x 15 inch square onto my working board and laid the images about a quarter inch over the edge.
I then laid my piece of polyester sheer over the collage and pinned it, stretching it slightly so that it remained taut.
I painted the medium on the overlapping edges of the collage pieces first so that they wouldn't move once I put the silk screen over them, however, in the end I didn't use the screen to apply the medium, I carried on and used the brush for the whole piece as I was afraid the individual pieces would still move around. This worked out well and kept all of my pieces in place, however, the book does go through the process of using a silk or thermofax screen, both which have the advantages of laying down a smooth, even layer of medium and also pushing the medium onto the cloth more evenly. You can also use screens that have a design on them to create different effects. I guess it depends on the type of image you are using and the degree of accuracy you need from the design.
Another thing I did was to use masking tape around the outside edges so that the medium didn't over run onto the fabric to far. This is may not be necessary, but I am still learning what works best and it gave me the result I wanted.
I let the piece dry on the board for a while, then I peeled it off and pegged it up to completely dry. Once this was done, I heat set it using a dry iron set to a cotton setting and parchment paper between the fabric and the iron. You then plunge the whole thing into a bucket of water (!) and let it soak for at least 5 minutes, after which you rub off the paper. It took a few soakings, so don't be afraid to keep putting it back into the water and working it until you are happy.
The process itself is quite easy but really satisfying. I really loved using this technique and I am looking forward to experimenting more with it as there are so many more variations in technique that you can use.
Claire presents very well and I love watching their DVD's. Claire and Leslie also have 4 other books plus the 'Finding Your Own Visual Language' with Jane Dunnewold that Linden mentioned in her top ten book list. All are easy to understand and packed full of great techniques. I really am a big fan of their work.
Their website is: http://www.committedtocloth.uk
Their book 'Screen Printing: :Layering Textiles with Colour, Textures & Images was listed on the top ten textile printing books.
I found their books on the Committed to Cloth website, Art Van Go here in the UK, Amazon, and Dharma Trading USA but there maybe others as well.