Here is a reprint of a project undertaken in 1997, in the original text:
Weaving/Surface Interaction (1997)
This project is connected to a more general research area that I have proposed for myself, which involves the combination of (hand)woven cloth and screen-printed surface treatments. I am interested in both the combination of the two usually separate techniques—weaving and surface design—in a single work, as well as the layering of the two for more complex effects.
Exploration in a variety of areas could be fruitful. I am particularly interested in the relationship between the image or pattern created by the weave structure and the overlaid image applied by the surface techniques like screen printing, stamping, stenciling, painting, resist dyeing, fabric manipulation, and embellishments (embroidery, beading). I would like to design and weave fabrics that specifically affect the printed layer, using the interaction of warp, weft, structure and pattern to mitigate the printed forms. I can see potential in manipulating a number of variables such as:
- Differential of weft yarns that would take the dye differently
- Discharging color selectively
- Scale—the relation between structural marks/patterns and applied marks/patterns; the scale of the pattern/structure repeat compared to the image/applied repeat
- Structure—How does it change the printed image? Fractured? How does the image change the appearance or behavior of the structure?
- Marks—How do woven and printed marks relate?
- Image—How does pattern affect image? Color changes? High/low contrast? Compatibility? Contrast? Reinforcement
- Camouflage—image emerges with continued focus making the close and distant views very different
- Layering—creating an illusion of space
- Textural contrasts—crisp/fuzzy, etc.
- Include working on top of Jacquard woven fabrics
The results of this research are ongoing, but many combinations can be found incorporated in a number of my artworks like:
Short statement on results
I have experimented primarily with a small range of textured weave structures—mostly manipulated twills and piques—using a hand dyed 10/2 cotton yarn or similar weight silk yarns. The scale of the weave structure requires that screen-printed, stamped or stenciled images on the hand woven fabric be solid shapes of a larger scale than 5-6 thread intersections to be readable. Fine textured images tend to disappear with the yarns at this scale. Searching each time for the right combination of yarn size, weave structure, and printed image is essential. Samples are necessary—there are no across the board answers, but many exciting discoveries along the way.
The combination of screen-printing and hand woven cloth is most successful in my experience when the imagery being developed and the structure have a logical conceptual connection.
I have used Rongalit ST as a discharge agent, applied with screen printing or hand painting on hand woven fabric previously dyed with fiber reactive dyes. This worked really well. It leaves a ghostly imprint on the fabric, and can be made to sit only on the tops of the exposed threads when the amount of paste is controlled.
Based on my experimentation, I have incorporated panels of printed and embroidered hand woven fabrics into numerous pieces of artwork. In some cases I covered the hand woven fabric first with a dyed or printed layer of silk organza to provide mystery, complexity, or visual blending. This additionally stabilized the hand woven, making embroidery easier to accomplish without distortion. There is much yet to explore with this.
A few samples
Sample #1: Yarns were space dyed with fiber reactive dyes before weaving, then over dyed after weaving. Leaf images were discharge printed, processed, and then printed in other locations with fabric pigments. Hand embroidery with mixed colors in the needle.
Sample #2: Please see the detail of “Quintessence” above. The red panel is dyed, discharged, printed with pigments, and hand embroidered on a pique structure.
Sample #3: Please see the detail of “Messages from the Past” above. This section of the work is a twill structure with 10/2 cotton, layered with a sheer silk organza that was dyed, and machine embroidered through all layers.
If you have an interest in this area and are conducting research of your own, I would love to hear from you (by email) and discuss results.