Techniques

An Overview

I use both commercial and hand dyed fabrics in my art quilts. For my hand dyed pieces, I use fiber reactive dyes on silk and cotton. Hand dyeing may go through many processes before getting the look I want on a particular piece of fabric.

For the first step in dyeing, I manipulate the fabric to create resisted areas that the dyes cannot reach or reach less well. This leaves me with variations in the intensity of color or spots with no color at all. These resist areas are created by scrunching, tying, folding, wrapping and/or clamping the material. Resist can also be achieved with tape, potato dextrin, freezer paper etc.; anything that stops the dye from getting to the fabric. Dye is then applied by squirting, or pouring.

fabric

fabric
These pieces were folded and clamped with differently shaped clamps.


I also thicken dyes to expand the methods for application. Thickened dye can be applied much as you do paint. I use rollers, squirt bottles, sheets of acrylic, stamps, etc. to apply the dye.

fabric
This fabric was monoprinted by squirting dye onto a large acrylic sheet and laying fabric over it.


I also use dye removal or discharge to selectively remove areas of dye from the fabric.

fabric
This was a piece of purple, commercial fabric. Its color was partially removed using bleach.
Common twist ties were used as a resist.


Sometimes I leave the fabric as is after one process, but more often I will combine different processes for a more complex surface.

fabric
This piece was dyed with multiple colors and then pole wrapped and discharged to partially remove the color in a striped pattern.


I often layer cotton fabrics under a sheer, hand dyed silk organza. Most of my pieces combine hand dyed silk organza and an under layer of another fabric. I find that this gives much more depth to the look of the cloth. At this point I might further develop the surface with fabric paint, foils, or oil sticks.

Finally, I combine my fabrics with natural materials. I walk frequently with my dog, collecting treasures. I find incredible beauty in things like bones, bark, stones, twigs, leaves and rusted metal. I either incorporate them directly into a piece, manipulate photos of them and print the images on fabric or just use them for inspiration. I strive to find a way to showcase their natural beauty through my work.

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