Work done for City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery with Distant Stitch.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Certificate Module 3 Chapter 9 Resolved Sample Diary

For the scroll which I'd planned for my resolved sample, I decided to start by making the outside of the scroll.  This I wanted to be a subtle colour with a very faint print with minimal stitching.  By contrast, the inside will be colourful and bold.

First, I needed to dye some fabric.  I was thinking of a pale-ish dusty aqua colour with printed ammonites in a very similar colour but a shade or tint just a fraction different from the base.  I bought some Dylon cold water dye, mainly because I needed plenty to experiment with and I can buy it in our village, without a lengthy trip to town.  I chose "Ocean Blue", expecting, from the name and the illustration on the packet, that it would be a turquoise blue.  I also mixed up a dye of "Terracotta" to dye some fabric in a complementary colour (to be handy - one dyeing session).  To my surprise, the Ocean Blue was purple!!  I thought, "there's no colour I can add to purple to get turquoise!" but decided to try adding some of the terracotta dye to the dye bath to see if it would turn it into a greyish brown.  To my delight it did exactly that.  I had re-visited Module 2 with one long length of cloth, gathering it up along the shorter side and tying it every 2 inches or so.  This sample turned out particularly well, since the longer time in the blue dye meant the blue seeped through to the inside, so that the finished result had both blue and brown on it.  Once rinsed and dried, the blue was much less purple and so I thought I could use it.

3.9. 18oct.1 The results of my dyeing

3.9.18oct.2  The tie dye sample

On Saturday 18th October, I had the chance to use a printing press since our local art society has the use of one twice a month.  I thought it would be interesting to compare with the printing I'd done at home by hand.  Most of the printing I'd done had been with plates I'd made by cutting ammonite shapes out of Fab Foam and sticking it onto a card backing then marking details with an old ballpoint pen.  I didn't think this plate would be strong enough to stand up to the pressure of the printing press, so first of all this morning I made a lino plate using an A4 sheet of Easy Cut and lino cutting tools.

3.9.18oct.3  The little ammonite printing plate

At first I tried printing with acrylic paint mixed with a retarder gel to try to keep the paint workable for longer and some acrylic fabric painting medium.  The results weren't very good as the paint was too thin and I also found it difficult to get the press set to the right pressure for printing on fabric.  When I tried using normal water based printing ink, the results were much better.

3.9.18oct.4  Prints on paper using the printing press

3.9.18oct.5  Prints on fabric using the printing press

There were some interesting and striking effects, but I decided none of them was what I was looking for. The results were very hard-edged and precise, not the effect I wanted.  An interesting morning however.

At home in the afternoon, I decided to try using the SoftCut plate, but using it as a stamp, printing by hand.  I cut the long tie dyed piece in half along its length so I could try it out and still had the other half if it was a disaster.  It was hard finding somewhere long enough in my tiny cottage so I could lay out the length but I managed it.  I used a very pale blue acrylic paint (Martha Stewart's Craft Multi Surface satin in Sea Lavender).  It gave exactly the effect I wanted, being so subtle that it almost melted into the fabric in places.  

3.9.18oct.6   Printed tie dye piece
3.9.18oct.7  Detail of printed tie dye piece

I like the layered effect of the printed pattern overlaid on the tie dye pattern.  The length is longer than I will need, so I'll have enough fabric to try out what sort of stitching (if any) I want to do on it.  It could be that stitching will add another interesting layer, but it could make it too busy and I want this side to be quiet, to contrast with the inside.

I am enjoying this project, in fact this Module, more than anything else I've done.  Part of the happiness it is giving me is that I have time to spend on it.  I do miss Auntie Dodie, my oldest friend and Godmother, who died in May, aged 99 years, but it is only now that I realise, how caring for her was taking up so much of my time and energy.  I read the other day that "every loss has a small freedom"  - how true.