Friday, April 5, 2013


My husband and I are now the very happy owners of a house in Massachusetts and I have been spending too much of my day throwing away half burnt candles and broken flower pots, donating books to the library that I am finally admitting I will never read again, and resigning that cheese tray that I used once in 42 years to the garage sale pile. There has not been half enough working with fabric and thread going on around here.

But I have been doing some, thanks to some big projects I have been working on and to a dear friend, who caught the fabric dyeing bug from me a while ago. In January we made a pact to get together at least every other week and try some form of fabric manipulation/transformation. And I finally suggested we should try glue resist, a technique I had decided was fairly useless to me in a class I took with Jane Dunnewold a couple of years ago. It just didn't seem to do much resisting against dye or paint.  But this time I took my time, carefully cut out stencils with what turned out to be a dull X-acto knife (no wonder I had so much difficulty), applied Elmer's Washable (it's gotta be washable) School Glue with a kind of squeegee process and got some results good enough to keep me interested. I painted the first round with dye paste:

For the second I decided to do an immersion dye process, even though the "books" cautioned that glue, being water soluble, was not a good candidate for immersion dyeing. But images appeared as I rinsed the fabric and I like this one much better:

And so I continued on with just some doodles, directly applying the glue with no stencil guide, that I painted over with dye paste, with a bit more seriousness this time, since I had begun to believe in glue resist. Now I know I can do more complicated designs with this glue stuff.

Then I tried a double dyeing process that began with applying thin lines of glue to white fabric and immersing it in a yellow dye, followed by more lines of glue and immersion in a blue dye. If you look closely, you can see these intriguing, ghostly blue lines that hover in the background:

Finally I tried to a bit more organized composition, which combined stencils and brushed on glue, which is obviously begging for more layers of something:
At the end of her week of classes, Jane divided the leftover supplies among those attending the classes, using a lottery system. I went home with a large bottle of Elmer's glue and a couple of other things and tried very hard not to covet the beautiful paints other students were lucky enough to win. Now I thank Jane for the glue. I finished that bottle and am working on my second.

And if you are still with me, thanks for the company. If you have a bit more time, hop over to Nina-Marie's blog to check out what some other bloggers have been working on this week.