Playing with Discharge

My good friend Ruth Brown ( has come to stay and play for a few days. And we are having great fun in the studio! Ruth and I meet at a C2C course several years ago and have been 'workshop buddies' since then. We've also worked together in her studio but this is the first time she has worked in my studio.

As well as working on our own projects we often have a technique that we want to experiment with. This time it is discharge. We've both used different media and techniques in the past so our time together has been about sharing knowledge but also about asking 'what if?'.

And one 'what if?' has lead to a really surprising result. We wondered what would happen if you used discharge paste and thickened procion dyes at the same time? So we took a piece of pre-soda soaked fabric and printed it with a Formosol paste (Formosol powder dissolved in a little warm water then mixed with print paste). We let that dry then used an open screen to apply thickened dye. The piece was left to dry overnight. We then ironed it carefully from the back to activate the discharge paste before rinsing and washing thoroughly. The discharge process definitely worked but somehow we have got shadow images and don't really understand why. Guess we will just have to keep playing tomorrow!

Discharge paste printed onto white, soda soaked, cotton

Thickened dye added by pulling through an open screen on top of screened discharge paste

Discharging the fabric

Printed and discharged wholecloth