In May 2010 I stumbled upon Kerr Grabowsky‘s Deconstructed Screen Printing and absolutely fell in love with the creative process she demonstrated in her video. She is a great teacher and really inspiring artist! Having done traditional screen printing for years, I was excited to learn and try this experimental printing technique, using dyes instead of ink. I ordered her DVD (which I’ve enthusiastically shared with friends many times over the years) and set out to find the necessary materials. The cold water fiber reactive dyes and chemicals she uses I couldn’t find in Montreal, so I ordered from J&S Dye in Toronto. I had a pile of white cotton fabric I recovered from a couch slip-cover project.
dsp test print 1
November 13, 2010 – Tried the deconstructed process with wood stain, not dye. So the prints were not washable. But was fun and messy. I gave away many of the prints to friends and family as wall hangings.
dsp print 2
January 31, 2011 – Finally got some MX dyes!
All pieces prewashed, soda soaked, and hung to dry. Then printed with strong dye mixtures, double the dye required for fabric painting, with urea (wetting agent) and alginate (thickener). Hand washed *vigorously* in cold water, warm water with detergent, and hot water with detergent. Hung to dry…
dsp print 3
Now that I tested the process, got some new texture items to play with… here I tried using a piece of lace detail (which turned out to look a lot like a cow skull I thought) and a string of sequins (which turned out to look like intestines). I also tried printing on a white tank top.
dsp print 4
I tried using vinyl cutout shapes… and tried different colour combinations…
There are a few print sessions I didn’t photograph, but by now I had a huge stack of prints and needed to figure out what to do with them. I liked them on their own, as wall art, but then the purpose of it being fiber dyed and washable is lost. I wanted to make clothing with it… I had made corsets before and thought that these crazy abstract prints would make interesting wearable art corsets. The pieces are pretty small and I could mix and match through the panels.