Moose said that as long as I was cutting up his muslin (see previous post) I should try some gesso experiments. I've used gesso as a resist on all kinds of paper but never on fabric and it seems like less effort than batik. 🙂 I'm also still working on that wonderful blending of orange, green and purple that I like to call 'octarine' (a la Terry Pratchett). All of this is in aid of a future project that gets more massive the longer I plan. I should stop planning and just do it, but this experimentation really is part of it. Really. Really!
Anyway, I started by tinting plain, rather thick white gesso with a little Naples Yellow Golden fluid acrylic because I didn't want stark contrast and I wasn't sure how much it would be stained by the sprays. Turns out I could have used more tint, but it's okay. Then I used a palette knife to scrape it through a couple of stencils and 'freehand' onto the muslin. My gesso is thick enough and the layer I scraped on was thin enough that I didn't have any problems with seeping under the stencils or pooling and sticking to my work surface, but I did this on waxed paper just in case.
I let the gesso dry completely and wet the fabric with a mister until it was wet but not soaked. I used dye sprays, orange Colorwash and crushed grape and dirty martini Dylusions. Yes, I know Dylusions aren't meant for fabric, but they're what I had in the colors I wanted. I'm not going to wear this or wash it.
The purple stained the gesso most, then the orange, and the green almost not at all. I let this dry completely and decided the purple wasn't dark enough. There were also some pink and blue places that, although cool, were not what I wanted.
So here the final product.
As cool as this is, I think I may like the back better! The gesso didn't permeate the fabric completely so the contrast isn't as great but the texture is still there.
Another shot of the back. The gesso makes a slight relief here:
There's some nice blending in here. Not as nice as on watercolor paper, but nice enough. I think I might try it on linen if I can find some. That's for another day, however. Seems we get one nice day out of this holiday weekend, and I'm going out to enjoy what's left of it!
It was only a matter of time before Moose rammed his hind end into this clementine box half-full of scraps on the sewing table in the studio. He decided he needed to supervise my latest fabric project; that's the bleached muslin he's got wedged in there with him.
I started these last weekend and gradually got them finished. Had I known the weather this weekend would be so lousy, I would have just waited and finished them this weekend.
These are just bleached and unbleached muslin. For this experiment, I wanted to see if wetting the fabric made a difference, and my canvas doesn't absorb water well (it's actually a canvas drop cloth so that makes sense). I wanted to use the secondary colors, and there's a a fine line between getting a great blending of those colors and getting, well, baby-poop brown.
So I tried dry, spot wetting with a mister, and soaking and wringing. You can tell which is which on the samples by the amount of wrinkling. Once again, I started with a layer of acrylic and fabric medium at 1:1 but subsequent layers are just paint. I used two shades of each color on each layer. There's less blending than I expected even with the soaked fabric.
Here's a spot-wet (love this Balzer Designs stencil! i have both sizes; this is the 12 x 12) and below is a three-layer spot-wet piece:
Here are some of the soaked pieces:
The pieces I started with orange have a solid layer of paint:fabric medium.
I like these but I'm probably going to have to use dyes on the fabric first to get the level of blending I want, then maybe one layer of paint stenciled on top. The forecast is for rain for the rest of the long weekend, so that's next!
Some experiments with Gelli printing using stencils on fabrics this time. I used unprimed canvas pieces and bleached and unbleached muslin. I left the fabrics dry; I might try wet for a different look next time. This wasn't really any messier than using paper, surprisingly. I kept the paint layers fairly thin. I started out mixing the paints with fabric medium 1:1, but I decided that because I won't be washing the pieces, there wasn't any reason for it. I think the stencils with the most open spaces worked best.
Finished! I think. At least I'm far enough along that I can hold it in my hands and leaf through the pages. I may string some beads on the spine cords if I can find some beads I like. There are 14 signatures and the cover is acrylic-painted anaglypta wallpaper. I wanted to make a true softcover book with just the wallpaper but decided that I'd need a little more strength so I used pieces of a cereal box. I got the idea for the spine from a YouTube video–don't remember whose–when I was looking for tape binding tutorials.
Some of the prints can stand as is and some are dying for embellishment. I imagine this as an art journal with only some pages used for journaling. I used LOTS of commercial stencils and masks and some of my own made with commercial hand-cuts and die-cuts. These are mainly Gelli plate and gelatin prints but some are spray-paint stencil prints I made last weekend. I may do some more of these if our weekend is as nice as its supposed to be.