For years I have wondered how to print cloth in repeat, at home, using readily available art supplies without being super technical. I have day dreamed about it, pondered the question, gotten frustrated by it, given up on it. And now, it has come together. The ball got rolling when Pat Gaignat wrote an article for Cloth Paper Scissors on ‘Faux Screen Printing’ (this is a download link, it is a great technique and one she allowed me to use in my book, Dreaming From the Journal Page).
This technique rang creative bells and whistles in my mind. All of the sudden, printing in repeat became manageable. My mind made the leap and I came to understand how I could push the technique even further. I can visualize how to layer, how to preserve white areas, and I figured out that I wasn’t limited to using just fun foam, I can use whatever materials make sense for the type of imagery I want to print. I can overprint to apply textures, and I no longer needed to design the entire print set in one session, I can fill in needed colors, textures and add design elements at any stage of the multicolor printing process.
I have also begun to print fat sixteenths! Lots and lots of fat 16ths. This means I print as if eating potato chips (which are my favorite junk food)! I can’t stop at just one, I need many! I feel as though I am printing scraps. This makes me want to quilt more than ever. As my tidy piles of 9×10″ pieces of printed cloth pile up, I feel so darned accomplished.
Conversely, if I flub up? No worries! Toss the flub aside and keep printing. The size makes these pieces expendable. Luckily, I don’t make too many mistakes, but it feels great not to feel COMMITTED to the work I am making.
This weekend I will be printing with friends, outdoors! I have measured my dye powders, mixed thickener, tore up all my soda soaked cloth, and am ready to have a long weekend of printing many, many potato chips. Life is good. Really, really good.