Saturday, April 21, 2018

Do You Have A Favorite Product To Use In Making Art?

     Do you have a product that you use often in making your art and that amazes you? I have several products I love to use. Procion MX dyes, fabric paints, colorless extender, thermofax screens, and others. But I just discovered a product that has been around awhile but I never tried called Color Magnet by Jacquard. It is advertised as a dye attractant that magically attracts more dye where it is applied. I was intrigued with possibilities for its use. So I bought some and set up an experiment.
     I took swatches of white cotton broadcloth that I had scoured. And I applied the Color Magnet paste to the fabric through a thermofax screen. I let it dry overnight. Then the next day, I put each swatch in its own ziploc baggie. I mixed up a solution of ProChemical's Procion MX dye called Celery. I chose that color because when I had used it before on folded fabrics, the colors that are in it split to create a multi-colored cloth. And I wanted to use a dye mixture that I knew could split easily to see if it would split using Color Magnet. I made up several dilutions of my stock Celery dye in water with soda ash. I poured each concentration in a baggie with the swatches and let them batch 24 hours.
     The following day, I washed them out and loved the results. And the Celery dye did indeed split a little in the places where the Color Magnet was on the cloth.
Sample A on top is the most concentrated
Sample B is a dilution of the dye in A
There's B again on top
Sample C is a dilution of the dye in B
There's C again
Sample D is a dilution of C
note that it is more brown
     I was also curious to see if Color Magnet would work on previously dyed cloth. So I took a swatch of the broadcloth that I had previously dyed in the color Marine, which is a not so intense blue-green. I screened on the Color Magnet, let it dry overnight and the next day put it into the same dye dilution as Sample C.
the cloth shows it has been overdyed
and the leaf is the same tone of Celery that Sample C has
And while I was doing these experiments, I got another idea. Would Color Magnet allow polyester fabric to take the dye? Normally, the Procion MX dyes wash right out of polyester. So I took a swatch of white sheer polyester and screened on Color Magnet, dried it overnight, and also dyed it in Solution C.
The next day, the whole cloth looked like it had taken the dye. But, of course, when I washed it out, the dye washed out of the polyester...EXCEPT for where the leaf had been screen on with Color Magnet. The dye stuck! And it didn't change the hand of the fabric at all. 

     So now I have all sorts of ideas to add imagery to my fabrics without changing the hand of it. The downside is that when you dye it, it also changes the background color. But it will definitely have a prominent place in my future works. I'm running more experiments now with different ways of screening Color Magnet on, diluting it, extra applications of it, etc.

     Also, I want to announce that I have a new Website I built with WordPress. I had never done any kind of tech work like that before. The first two days, I couldn't figure anything out and couldn't get text or images onto it. Then, I hired a service called WordPress Live for $150. For that price, you get unlimited phone calls for 1 month and they screen share with you and teach you how to use WordPress. Their goal is for you to end up with a cool website that will attain the goals you want and that you can maintain on your own. Each phone call is limited to 25 minutes, but you can call right back if you want as many times as you want. They limit it so that you will be encouraged to work on your own. It only took a few calls to get me to understand how to use WordPress. It's a very impressive service and I'm not getting any compensation from them to tell you this. I just want you to know about it in case you want to build a website, too.
     I also started an Instagram account where I want to share photos of nature and also to help promote my art. All this from a person, who, back in the day said "Email? I'll never use email. Internet? What a crazy idea. Not for me." Now I try to keep up with it all. I've read tech learning is a good exercise for the brain and helps prevent dementia. Hope it's true.  I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other fabric art blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.