Monday, March 17, 2014

Marbling on fabric

Marbling on fabric, check out this beauty! My method to create this is below.

I prepped everything Friday to do some fabric marbling on Saturday morning. I am using Jo Fitsell's technique. She is a local Denver artist and I have taken a surface design class with her at the Denver Art Student's League.  She was on two episodes of Quilting Arts TV, the link to one of the episodes is here. She has also done a full length video for Interweave on her marbling techniques.

I made my carrageenan liquid following the instructions on the package (I used Jacquard brand) on Friday late afternoon. The package said to make it 12 hours before and leave it at room temperature. Since it was longer than 12 hours, I put it in the refrigerator until 11 pm, then took it out. It needs to be at room temperature to use it. I didn't want to wait until the morning to take it out, then have to wait for it to reach room temperature.  I also soaked my fabrics in an alum solution for about a half hour, then hung them out to dry.  I did a solution of 1 3/4 Tbsp alum (all I had in the house) and a half gallon water. Next time I will use more alum. Alum is available in the spice aisle of the grocery store, but for larger quantities, it will need to be ordered online.

Here is my set-up. I am using Golden Fluid Acrylics. I mixed them roughly 50/50 with water (will probably add a little less water next time). The photo tray (roughly 14x16) has my carrageenan mixture in it. I have newsprint on the right to put the fabric on after marbling. I spread a drop cloth on the floor to put the fabric/newsprint on to dry. I would have done this outside if the weather had been nice, to give me more space for drying.

Here are some of the fabrics I used. There are some ice dyed fabrics, Setacolor puddle painted fabrics, white cotton, blue woven, hexagon commercial print, gelli printed fabrics, etc.

 I forgot to take process photos, but basically I used droppers to drip different colors of paint in the pan, then laid the fabric down on top. I lifted it up and put it on newsprint, and then the drop cloth, to dry.

Here are photos of the fabrics after they were dry, before they were rinsed to remove the alum and carrageenan. Above each photo, I note what type of fabric was used.

Hexagon commercial print.

Poly sheer (left) and ice dyed cotton (right)

Dark blue woven (left) and black mottled (right)

 Grungy green fabric from last marbling session (left) and ice dyed (right)

 Grungy green fabric from last marbling session (left) and ice dyed (right)

Gelli-print (left) and white fabric (right)

Ice dyed linen

 Previous marbled fabric (left) and gelli print (right)

Gelli print (left) and dark blue woven (right)

Gelli print (left) and white fabric (right)

Silk organza (left) and gelli-print (right)

Ice dyed fabric (this was a pink/purple color)

These were strips of acrylic painted canvas that I had sewn together. It was an orangy red with blue blotches.  I did not think it would marble well, since it had different layers, but it turned out great!  I am going to make some more "patchwork" type backgrounds to marble on.
 After rinsing the fabrics, I hung them out to dry. It was nice to see such cheerful fabrics on a gloomy afternoon.

I did have a problem with some of the paint getting removed (just a bit, but enough to notice and annoy me) from a handful of these during the washing process. Next time I am going to put more alum in my soaking water for the fabric at the beginning, to help with paint retention. I also will be a bit more gentle when washing them out. I did it in the kitchen sink, but put them all in and squished them around pretty hard. I would do them individually and just soak briefly in soapy water, then run under the tap. I am thinking of touching some of them up with watered down acrylic or I could do another layer of marbling.

After the prep work, the actual marbling of two dozen pieces took 2 to 3 hours.  The carrageenan was down to maybe 1/4" deep (started at roughly 1-1/2" deep) and looked pretty gunky from all the paint so I didn't bother to save it.  If I had more left (with less paint gunk), I would have put it in a container (for art use only) and put it in the refrigerator. It will last a little while in there (a week?).

After seeing the results, marbling can be pretty addictive. Now I need to make some art quilts with these!

Update: I did some more marbling in May which you can see here. I put a second layer on many of the pieces in this post.

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