Sunday, May 16, 2010

May - The Experimenting begins again

After coming back from India, I've been working on getting similar results on my block printed fabrics. It's coming along well, with great mistakes! All I need to say is, Sodium bi-carbonate is not the same thing as Sodium Carbonate.
Here are a few pics of the samples taken by the very talented Amar Abdel -Halim.

These samples are of linen fabric gotten from TRAID, London. The fabric was accumulating dust with no buyers, hence it was donated for my project. Lugging it across London was fun, after changing 3 buses and Vedika holding onto the other end of the roll.

The fabric was washed and left overnight in a bath of detergent and soda ash. Next it was dipped in a solution of Harde or myrobalan so that it may produce a better color at the end. Once dried, it was printed on with a mixture of Alum and Tamarind Seed powder. Once dried, it was dipped in a dye bath of Dhavri ka phool, mahi, and Alizarine. Dhavri ka phool and mahi are indian names for different flowers. Alizarine is the synthetic form of madder. The combination of these three gave our fabric a coral coloration, however, we were attempting for Red. After further research, I found out that the PH of the level, if it is too acidic will produce coral colors and hence needs to be neutral to produce the right color. So, the solution to that is adding soda ash to bring the fabric to a neutral PH. With a dash of soda ash, the result was closer to what we wanted. We had gotten a good dark red. The ground however became purple...So the experiment is ongoing.
The darker fabric was first dipped in Iron water before being dipped in the dye bath, hence it has a darker coloration.

Pics of the block in order of development:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 3

White Flour.
I boiled white flour for about half hour mixing water into it. It smelled like dough. :)
There were lots of chunks in it, not fully smooth. Maybe it needed to be blended with a blender to get all the chunks out. But the consistency was quiet thin and with that the print came out more consistent as opposed to blotchy with the indalca. I even tried the indalca thinned out, but the color didn't transfer from that.It printed a light color. The Henna printed darker than the Rosewood. But all in all, it was an interesting day.
I liked the print on the silk the most when it was wet. Obviously when it got dry, it wasn't as contrasty but it was still visible and the fabric is somewhat stiff since we have not mordanted any of the fabrics.
Here are the pictures.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 9, 2010

This is day two of our natural dye experiment. I don't know what to say.
February 8, 2010:
We started with boiling St. John's Toad and Rose wood. We boiled for an hour, and then left it overnight. Amar printed a little with pigment.

February 9, 2010.
I put the St. John's Toad and Rose wood back on the burner for about 1 hour more. It reduced in quantity to about half of what we had started out with.
In the meantime we boiled two tbsp henna for 15-20 minutes, then mixed that with already mixed indalca. We did not strain the henna, so it was grainy when we printed with it.

Next we mixed our own indalca and made two batches. One plain Indalca, and second was with henna and indalca. The Indalca mixture was more thicker this time. We were trying to see what quantity was good for printing with. Something that could be applied to our ink bed easily and picked up smoothly by the blocks.
Result of henna + indalca: It was not grainy but instead botchy. The already mixed indalca produced a better finish.
Results of Indalca: After printing with plain indalca which was to act as a resist when we dye it. We dyed in chemical dye just to see quick results. We dyed it a bright blue just so we could see the contrast of the resisted white cotton against the blue dye. Success. It looks like batik. I am happy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dye Workshop

February 6, 2010 - Vauxhall City Farm.

I attended a dye workshop with Amar, where we got to learn informally about the natural dye process. It made a little bit more sense seeing it as opposed to just reading about it in books. We dyed wool yarn in Weld, Tansy, and Golden Rod.

First we put our yarn in a mordant, alum, which can be found in local supermarkets. We simmered the yarn in boiling mordant water for 45 minutes. This can also be done overnight in cold water and alum. After the mordanting process, we put the yarns in three different dye baths. Those were then simmered for 30 minutes. The results of those were:
1. weld - bright yellow
2. tansy - yellow green
3. golden rod - orange yellow.

Overall a good experience. Can't wait to try it ourselves in the dye workshop in the college. Don't know how successful we will be because we have to make a concentrate of the dyes. As in, take the dried marigold and boil and simmer it for 1 - 2 hours to get a concentrate before thickening it will indalca or manutex, a seaweed thickener.

Finished block...well almost :)

Here is my block heading towards completion. Can't wait to start printing it.

Next we've tried to build a dye bed, on which we will stamp our block before printing it on the fabric. It was not a great success but it is in the right direction.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The process

So, this is me carving my block. It took a while because it was a obstacle to get used to the tools and figuring out how to best use them. But, it is almost done! Warning: Block carving is harmful to the back. Ouchhhh.

And this is Amar, my Egyptian friend, trying to show me how to carve my block. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Toilet paper ahoy!

This is for a hospital project where we took toilet paper rolls and decorated them in our own ways to be displayed in cabinets along a hospital corridor. This is my bad attempt. :) Looks good on screen as opposed to in real life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Art is Long and Life is short, let us at least do something before we die" -william morris

These are pics from my progress review presentation in college. We were asked to sum up our past three months. It's been a hard task for many if not most. I had a lot of research done on my part but nothing much actual to show. However, after contemplating it and a little bit more work, I think it came out OK. I'm happy with the progress so far and look forward to moving onwards from here.
You can probably see from the pictures a few designs I've drawn up, patterns that I will be transferring to wooden blocks to be carved. Also, there is a block that I've started and it is in the process.