Round Robin Fabrics

10:23 AM Posted In , Edit This 1 Comment »
I've recently finished and mailed two pieces of fabric for the Complex Cloth Round Robin that I am participating in. This Round Robin is being hosted by Von Biggs over at the Complex Cloth forums. There are 7 of us in each Round Robin Group. My group is working in cotton. Each participant started with one yard of high quality cotton fabric, added one layer of dye to the fabric and sent it on to the next person on the list. When my original fabric comes back, it will have been altered by 6 more people. Folks have been posting photos as they go along on the Complex Cloth forum and it is fun to watch how each piece gets altered.

I added a 3rd layer of dye to a yard of fabric that had soft, pale yellow and blue stripes. I painted circles on the fabric with Speedball drawing fluid, allowed them to dry and then laid the fabric on a shower curtain and painted coral pink dye all over with a sponge brush. Then I mixed some fire red dye and painted more circles around and/or inside the resisted circles. I had never used drawing fluid as a resist before as I was afraid that it might stain the fabric. In Jane Dunnewold's book, Complex Cloth, she mentions that drawing fluid as a resist had once stained a length of silk noil. However, I felt safe using it on this piece because the existing blue dye was the same color as the drawing fluid; I felt confident that it would look intentional if it stained. There was some icky looking color mixing going on between the fire red and the drawing fluid while the fabric batched, but it all washed out just fine. I was surprised at how well the drawing fluid worked as a resist considering how much it appeared to bleed while batching. Placing the fabric on a shower curtain resulted in having some interesting bleed lines where the plastic carried the dye over into other areas of the fabric. Some people would hate that but I liked it. So one thing I've learned in this RR is that I can use drawing fluid as a sturdy resist on cotton. I generally use Elmer's school glue gel as a resist for silk painting, but that does not hold up well to really wet work on heavier fabric.

For the second fabric I just accordion folded the picece into a little packet and discharged the edges with bleach. Frankly, I didn't want to do anything to this piece of fabric and I'm disappointed with what I did do. I guess that I should have been bolder, but in my world that piece would have been considered done when it got to me. I hope that the next person who gets it does not feel as stumped as I did! I've tried to photograph this length of fabric in a way that will do justice to all of the incredible things going on with colors and discharging/overdyeing, but I'm stumped. You'll just have to take my word for it - this is one beautiful piece of fabric.

I need to get started with some screen printing techniques. I think if I had some more tools in my studio, I would not have been so intimidated. My piece of fabric has been to 4 people and the last person added some
silk screened Emily Dickinson text to the piece. The effect is subtle compared to the larger patterns happening with the dye but it is bold enough to stand out from the background.


Thelma said...

Love what your doing in the rr. I am a very quiet member of complex cloth, haven't been a member long, I am hoping to get to learning doing this so I can participate in the rr with you guys. I got to your blog through the TIF challenge. This is too cool.

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