Saturday, 29 September 2007

Discharging and rust dyeing

Two things I have been wanting to try for a while - it is a long weekend here so decided to set aside some serious play time. Decided to start with the simple version of discharging, using gel bleach. All the American sites that mention it suggest using Sunlight dishwashing gel, which seems to be unavailable here. So I went hunting in the supermarket and found these two products - could be more out there for all I know, but this is what I got from two of the big grocery store chains. I used both, and they work fine. White King really packs a punch - has a higher concentration of bleach than even domestos! It works really quickly - probably a bit harder on the fabric. The cheaper no name one takes a little longer to discharge, but is probably not so rough on the fibres.

Here is my first piece - I filled up a curved ended syringe (had a devil of a job finding those, but eventually tracked them down at a dental suppliers). I draw squiggles and then circles, just meandering along, getting a feel for it. When it is still wet, and before neutralizing and rinsing, it was very orange indeed. It has now toned down to more ochre type shades. Quite elegant, I think! All the websites say to neutralize with Anti clor or bleach stop - but neither of these seem to be available in Australia. I did a bit of research and apparently one of them is just a brand name for sodium metabisulphite - which Batik Oetoro sell - so I will order some next week. In the meantime, I made do with hydrogen peroxide from the chemist, which also works, apparently, but will work out fairly expensive to use all the time.

Then I had a go using Thiox (which I thickened with alginate). Here is the result, after pasting it onto a rubber stamp - well, actually, a color box molding mat. The pattern is rather ghost like - I like the effect. Interestingly, the black is from the same bolt of fabric - the bleach based products produce ochres, whereas the thiox (and also the Jacquard discharge paste, which I also tried) produce this silvery image, which has touches of mauve here and there.

And I also had a go at rust dyeing. I recently got the Rust Tex CD which I got from Dale, I didn't have anything rusty lying about, so I asked at work, and someone who keeps a horse on a property around here said he could get me some bits. Not all of them worked - but two pieces in particular did - a rusted lid off what I think is an old paint tin, and a flat piece, that might have been part of a barbeque plate at one time. Right now they are wrapped around some more fabric, simmering away in a bath of vinegar and salt, all wrapped up in black plastic.

But here is one piece that I got done - I only started it 24 hours ago, and have rearranged it on the metal several times during the day to get good coverage. So, I have had a good start to my long weekend.

Tomorrow I am going to do some monoprinting using the gel. I also want to prepare a screen to do some improvisational screen printing - another thing on my list. Oh, and I want to dye up some more fabrics. Then Monday, I am determined to actually make something from my newly generated stash - even if it is just a postcard, or a journal quilt - I won't go to bed until I have something. I have decided I have to be more focussed on just producing work, and not simply messing about. Oh dear - not enough hours in the day - especially when work interferes! Although, I regularly read Lisa Call's blog, and that woman is totally amazing. She has a full time job, and children at home (mine are big), and she still manages to put in 30 hours or more a week in her studio - does she ever sleep, I wonder???

1 comment:

Kate said...

Hi - just found your blog and it's very interesting. Just sticking in my oar, for what it's worth, re discharging. When I was doing this at college for City & Guilds, we were using white vinegar as a neutraliser and that works really well. And much cheaper than anything else. I really liked what you did - I might even have another go. I had never thought of using cleaning gels, so I may have a look next time I go shopping. (I'm in England, so it'll be something completely different. Most bleaches here won't discharge anymore because they've made them too un-bleachy! For safety I guess!))