Process into Practice: Mixed Media!

It’s mixed media week! This means that I’m mostly concentrating on fabric and embellishment. Our brief is based on repetition, and I’ve mostly been looking at stripes after choosing a couple of sketchbook pages (here and here) where I used a lot of simple lines in my drawings. The whole point of this week is to keep things as simple as possible, and there’s not much simpler than lines!

The most exciting new thing I’ve tried is embossing fabric using a heat press. It’s pretty cool. I raided the college shop for anything that might make a nice line, and came away with some paper straws, matchsticks, and corrugated card, and I also liberated some paper yarns from the yarn store.

The heat press.

Blanket wool set out on the heat press with some corrugated card and matchsticks on top.

I laid out my fabric (in this case some rather expensive blanket wool – £22 per metre!) and placed my corrugated card shapes and a couple of matchsticks on top to form some stripes.

Heat Press 2.

The heat press clamped shut and counting down.

I set the heat press to sit at 180 degrees for 30 seconds. Unfortunately I don’t have a decent picture of the embossed fabric – it’s surprisingly difficult to photograph because the texture can be very subtle. Hopefully once the week is over I can photograph my finished samples and show them off.

Rather than waste my flattened-by-the-heat-press paper straws, I decided to use them in a sample, and I really liked the effect that I got from stitching them to felt.

Stripy straws.

Very stripy!

Today, I embarked on a bit of a dyeing adventure. I wanted to dye some of my blanket wool orange, because of the sketchbook page I mentioned earlier, so I mixed up a bath of acid dye using a mixture of “Golden Yellow” and “Bright Blood Red”. On a bit of a whim I decided to throw in a couple of scraps of cotton, and a small piece of viscose felt tied up with fishing line in a vague attempt at shibori. I knew the cottons and felt wouldn’t take the dye well because acid dye is the wrong type for those fibres, but I kind of just wanted to see what would happen. I’m glad I threw them in, because now I understand better how acid dye works on a selection of fibres (not well at all unless it’s wool or silk).

The dye lab is a hub of activity!

Busy bees in the dye lab!

I felt much more comfortable mixing dye today than I did on Monday. There was the initial mind blank when faced with having to calculate percentages and things, but I think I got all my numbers correct. Well, my dye started out looking very wishy-washy, so I measured out more of each dye colour and threw it in, and my blanket wool turned out almost exactly the shade I wanted, which sounds close enough to success for me!

Mah bukkit.

Mah bukkit, bubbling away over the burner.

Dyed orange fabric.

As you can see, the blanket wool (right) came out nicely; the others not so much!

And the week isn’t even over yet!


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About Hannah

I'm Hannah, a twenty-something-year-old textile design student from Scotland. I'm learning a lot, and I want to learn more.

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  1. Process into Practice: Print! « Hannah Dickson - November 23, 2011

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