Monday, 11 November 2013

Direct Print with Natural Dye

The natural next step for this project was to try printing with the dyes, after all, I am a printer.
My first attempt was simple, with elderberry dye exhaust and cornflower mixed to a thick paste consistency and pulled through a screen. This was quite successful, it survived being steamed and washed although the colour greyed slightly in this process. The sample can be seen below (turmeric dyed linen with elderberry starch print). I later printed a leaf design over one of my acorn shibori silks which really well and had a nice handle to it.
 After more research and speaking to an ex-student who direct printed with indigo, I decided to give gum tragacanth a go. This was soaked for a week before blending with concentrated madder dye solution and alum. The print from this was fairly successful, if not a little paler than I had hoped. Definitely a technique that may come in handy in the future, I used the same process to create indigo prints, however I used a cup of dye straight from the vat (un-concentrated) so when printed over tea dyed fabric gave a very pale result. I would like to work on getting really strong colour like the example from the ex-student but for now I need to move forward onto the next technique.
A lot of my research mentioned manutex as a carrier when printing with natural dye, so this was my next step. The process was much the same as with the gum trag. and I again used madder.
It was harder to get a thicker consistency with this one as manutex is very runny but I think it gave an interesting effect, as you can see above on this photo print of paving. The downside to using manutex was that I found the results really effecting the handle of the fabric, even after steaming. The silk became crispy.

Of these methods, surprisingly my favourite was the corn flour method... although this was one the one I thought would give the poorest results.
The gum tragacanth worked well but I think I need to refine my methods and research more into getting bolder, bright colours.