Project 5 – Stage 3 Printing and painting on fabric



For this sample I reproduced the eye design developed from a sketch of a delftware dish and wanted to try to capture the cobalt blue of the designs on the glaze, always one of my favorite ceramic colours.  I remember at primary school being shown how ground up metal oxides were transformed by the heat of the kiln into the most amazing, often irridescent tones.  I made a printing block using sheet foam stuck to some stiff cardboard.  I diluted some Colourcraft Opaque fabric paint, a mixture of cyan and violet and printed directly on to an ivory linen-mix fabric.

Completely by accident I was able to tesselate the print because of the general diamond shape of the block.  The print was not entirely clean but I don’t mind this, I think it adds to the effect.  I tried one print on the bottom edge without re-loading the block with paint but I realised that there was not enough colour left to give a good print.  I could experiment more by alternating darker and lighter prints.  Also, I had to position the prints entirely by eye so some of them are closer than others but overall I think it works really well.

These next two prints were made on a cream hessian-type fabric.  I started off with a basic print, half the block black and half indigo (which doesn’t show well in this photograph), using Derwent Inktense blocks and a sponge to apply the colour.

With this sample I filled in the gap with another print which overlapped on the eyelash areas but I think it still works quite well; the “eye” part of the print is still dominant.

On this version I brought in some bright colour with the scarlet squares which is a good contrast.

I thought it would be interesting to try making a block with the reverse technique so I took some more foam sheet and this time I drew into it with a kebab stick, using the same eye design as inpsiration but simiplified.  The block outline is a bit uneven but again, I like that it gives a less formal feel to the finished print.  I have printed in coloumns of bright colours using Inktense blocks, the ink applied to the printing block with a sponge. The fabric is simple bleached butter muslin.

I like the result as is but I could add embellishment in the spaces by painting by hand.  I am ever mindful of time constraints with this exercise.  It is easy to get really absorbed with multiple permuations of one design and then have no time to explore others so I will move on to the next design.


For the next set of samples I was inspired by the variations on the wall image that I produced using some image manipultion software.  One of them resulted in a version where the blocks in the wall were quite zingy colours but disappeared slightly into the dark background.  I made a simple stencil using clear sticky backed plastic, making the “mortar” area wider than in the original image, purely for practicality.  I thought the stencil would last a bit longer if there was more plastic between the spaces.  I sponged the Colourcraft fabric paint I used previously on to 100% wool worsted cloth.

Here I experimented with a magenta colour on the left but I could see as I was printing that the colour was not going to show up against the fabric.  On the right I tried again by mixing in some white acrylic paint (I did not have any white fabric paint in the starter pack I purchased) to the magenta I had left, producing an opaque pale pink – too much white!  I realise that although the label of the fabric paint describes the colours as “Opaques” this does not describe how the colours turn out.

In this sample I played around with using variations on the pink colour I used earlier and like the effect made by the colour not mixing together completely.  Also, the sponging makes a good textural pattern too.

Here again, the sponge application of the paint into the stencil makes for an intersting texture within the bricks but this time I have used a variety of bright colours, more akin to the source image


I initially considered using this image to develop a design either by using a resist technique or painting on coloured fabric using bleach.  Then, after deliberating further I realised this was a good opportunity to practise hand painting on fabric.

This image was made using Derwent Inktense blocks diluted with water painted on an ivory pure silk twill, scarf weight fabric.

I am not very happy with the way this sample has turned out.  I could not find a good enough brush and it was very difficult to control the colour when it was diluted as it just soaked into the fabric.  You can see where I have used a less dilute colour in some of the wheels which looks a little better but it was difficult getting the right proportions.  If the ink was too dry you could not paint it on, if too wet it just ran.  With the Inktense colour you are supposed to be able to paint over your work when dry so I tried going over a portion of this again using a better brush to try to get some more definition in the wheel outlines but this did not provide a noticeably better finish.

I tried using a different brush but I still had trouble with gettting the consistency right for painting a god line.  I used a dry brush technique going over the background but this was not particularly interesting on this sample.  Also, with this sample I originally taped the fabric to my printing surface with masking tape but the second time around I used an embroidery frame to stretch the silk, again with little improvement.

For this sample I have used a cotton shirting stretched over an embroidery frame.  I diluted some Colourcraft fabric paints and sponged over the fabric to give an all over background in magenta pink.  Then I made a stencil, drawing circles freehand and sponging more colour into the shapes.  I tried outlining the circles with the segment design in bleach but it did not take at all which is useful to know.  Lastly I went over the circles with the grey outline.  This is quite a jolly design but I think it needs more refinement, perhaps by making the circles more geometrically accurate and having a second stencil to go over the shapes with the segment outline, again more accurately.  This would, of course have a completely different feel to the original inspiration which was very free in style but I think perhaps the bold colours need a more constrained approach.


For this sample I thought it would be interesting to try several techniques together.  I made a printing block and covered it with hessian.  I used this to give the background some texture.  I printed on to some raw cotton open weave fabric using diluted Colourcraft fabric paints in a golden colour.

I then used an old pencil to print the dark brown diagonal lines.  I should have made myself some guidelines to work from as it looks a little messy at the beginning.  I printed the other shapes using blocks made from cardboard and foam.  The foam is a little thin which means some of the prints have some messy bits around them but again, I like the effect as it adds to the texture.


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