Posts tagged Monoprinting
Is this textile art?

I have now completed 80 days of my 100 week day challenge and have created 52 small pieces of art. (Go Leah!!). They range in size from 8 x 8 inches to 12 x 30 inches and all can be described as quilts. Each has 2 layers held together by stitch (and bondaweb). They can definitely be called 'textile' art.

I am going to spend the last 20 days of the challenge creating small pieces using the breakdown / monoprint process that I have been experimenting with. I'm not sure about the size yet or how I will present the finished pieces. Nor have I decided whether to add stitch yet. I've been sampling different ideas and I am not sure if the individual prints look better with or without stitch.


Not adding stitch is pretty radical for me. And it makes me wonder whether 'just' printing onto textile is enough to call it textile art? Artists who paint onto canvas are not called textile artists even though canvas is a textile. So if I don't add stitch to some of my work what should I call myself?

Different but the same

It will come as no surprise when I say that 95%+ of the textiles I use in my work are created using breakdown printing.  Sometimes I include dyed pieces, sometimes I add a layer of print using thermofax but breakdown is my love.

For the last few years I have printed knowing that the majority of cloth is going to be cut into rectangles and used to build backgrounds for series like Ruins. Which means that I don't think about composition when making the screens. I may choose square type shapes to embed or keep things aligned in one direction. When I print the screens I tend to place the prints side by side until I have filled the piece of fabric. Again I'm not thinking about composition. I occasionally cut out a particularly lovely section of cloth to use to cover book board but mostly the cloth gets cut down and pieced.

I love this process and expect to be using it for years but I'm also keen to find new ways to use breakdown - I love experimenting. I've played with printing with both thickened dye and discharge paste before batching my cloth. I've played with multiple layers of colour on a screen. Both gave interesting results but didn't fit with what I was trying to achieve at the time.

And then I saw some images on Instagram by the lovely Leslie Morgan of Committed to Cloth / the Creative Studio and had a lightbulb moment. Leslie and her students were painting thickened dye on screens to give very defined shapes (often buildings) then experimenting with colour exchange when they printed off the dried screen. Wonderful stuff that got me thinking about positive and negative space and how I could use breakdown screens to create series of monoprints.

So I have been playing. And having so much fun. Watch this space ..

Judgement Day!

Fabrics printed using a soya wax screen I've spent the last couple of weeks at the bench printing fabrics. I love it! It is a little bit like a merry-go-round, once you're on it is difficult to stop. But stopping and assessing is really important so yesterday I cleaned, tidied and finished rinsing out and ironing the fabrics. This morning I looked at what I had printed. I used the samples that I have been stitching to help and used the trick of framing small sections. I have printed approximately 18 square metres of fabric. About half is 'perfect' and so will be put through a final machine wash to make them ready for use. The other half need additional work. Some just need a few lines adding but some need some serious intervention! (And, being honest, a couple probably need throwing in the bin!). These will all be soda soaked again and hopefully printed over the next week. So lots more fun at the bench!

Sorted fabrics - those that need additional work are at the back

Beautiful soft greys achieved through breakdown printing and glassine monoprinting


From Ugly Ducklings ... part 2

Layers of monoprinting using glassine and thickened dyes I adding more monoprinted bands on top of the glassine printed fabrics. Using paper 'L' frames focuses the eye on the wonderful texture this method produces. I am very happy with these although I'm not sure if they can technically be called monoprints now!

Monoprinting using thickened dyes on glassine


Layers of breakdown printing using black thickened dye from my Dunure colour family

Added more breakdown printing onto the original breakdown pieces was less successful - there is a very fine line between creating depth of texture and loosing all the lovely fragile marks.

Adding layers using breakdown printing has overwhelmed earlier, more fragile marks



There once was an ugly duckling (or two!)

As well as stitching lots and lots of lines over the last couple of weeks I have also spent a few hours doing 'wet work' inspired by calm and tranquility. I was fairly pleased with the pieces I had printed over the August bank holiday but this time around all I seem to have made is a bunch of ugly ducklings! Using the Dunure colour family I made some more pieces by monoprinting off glassine and by using breakdown printing. I also did some scraping with thickened dye and some dry brushing. Usually I can predicate, and somewhat control, the outcome when I layer up colours from within a colour family. This time most of the pieces came out rather dirty brown or dull looking. I think I have lost my mojo!

Cotton scrapped through (left) and dry brushed (right) with thickened dyes

Using glassine and thickened dyes to monoprint bands of colour. Tried using a brush and a roller (centre piece) to get different effects

But I like a challenge so I sat and studied the pieces. I used paper 'L' frames to isolate sections of each cloth. This helped me decide which pieces needed more of the same - for example adding more bands of colour by monoprinting off glassine. And which pieces needed the addition of a layer of something different - for example adding fine lines using a soya wax screen on top of scrapped fabric. I also hung some of the really ugly pieces side by side to see if there were any 'sparks' between them. I now have separate piles to work through over the coming days and weeks. Let's hope I can find my mojo again!

Paper 'L' frames used on a piece of breakdown printing

Paper 'L' frames used on a piece printed using a soya wax screen

Ugly ducklings - can I turn them into a beautiful swan?


Monoprinting with Glassine

Monoprint using thickened dyes and glassine I've been playing with thickened dyes on glassine in order to create some more textures that embody stillness and tranquillity.  I'm not sure how successful my experiments were but I thought I would share.

Glassine is a super shiny plastic with a static surface that causes liquids to pull together - think droplets of water on a water proof finish. The thickness of the liquid and how much you put on influence the patterns this forms. I took a large piece of glassine and painted on bands of colour from my Dunure colour family. I blended the colours a bit and tried to introduce some linear movement. With the help of a friend (thanks Ruth!) I carefully laid on top a piece of dry soda soaked fabric. We then used our hands to press the fabric onto the glassine creating the monoprint.

I had stuck lengths of masking tape across the fabric before using it and these acted as a resist. I let the monoprint dry and removed the tape. I used more tape to mask off a new set of bands across the fabric covering some of the original printed area but not all.

I then added more thickened dye to the glassine and repeated the printing process. I tried to use less dye for the second print to avoid some large blotchy areas. I also used more colours from the pale part of the colour family.

Having created this second layer I let the fabric batch overnight before washing out. There are some interesting areas within the print but mostly it looks like a multi-coloured spotty animal skin. Which would be fantastic if I had wanted multi-coloured spotty animal skin! Maybe I need to play some more.

Monoprint using thickened dye on glassine


More representations of stillness

I used two other techniques to try to capture stillness or tranquillity. Both used thickness dyes in pales shades from my 'Dunure' colour family. Multiple layers of breakdown printing in one colour only

The first used a breakdown printing technique that I have been using in my Ruins series but this time with vertical elements rather than horizontal. I used different thicknesses of masking tape to create a random barcode effect on the back of my screen. I then applied a very thin coat of thickened dye over the top. Once dry I removed the tape and printed off the screen. I had to remake the screen several times to build up layers of line and texture on the printed cloth. I like the results although it was a slow process. But then there is a certain tranquillity in slow and repetitive processes.

Reusing masking tape from yellow screens gave tiny halo effects when printing