Saturday, May 2, 2009

Screen Printing Fabric

My fiber art partner Kathy Harte and I began collaborating art quilting and mixed-media exploration in January 2008. Kathy had some previous experience in surface art design. I joined her last summer for several weeks of Fabric Art Design classes she was teaching her school age girls. We dyed, sun printed, discharged dye with bleach, foil stamped, embossed, and tried various methods of fabric paint-stick applications - directly, with stencils and as textured rubbings. We had a blast in spite of a dreadful, cold, rainy Alaskan summer.

Kathy will be moving to Texas July 2010, so we agreed to capitalize on the time remaining to explore previously uncharted art techniques by scheduling ART PLAY DAY alternate Fridays, usually between 10:30 - 5:30 and alternating our homes. We listed our 2009 goals in advance, what we wanted to learn, explore, produce etc. and usually the person who hosts that Friday will do the research, provide the project, and a simple lunch.

Gorgeous weather allowed Kathy and I to fabric paint in my garage yesterday. We had ample space, clothes racks to hang our printed fabrics to dry, and a nearby utility tub to rinse our screens in. A lot of preparation took place before we began... we actually started this process over the winter. First we came up with our own designs or used Dover Clip Art to make xerox copies of what we wanted. We ordered special Thermal Fax screen material (in pre-cut sheets) from Welsh Products and borrowed the use of a Thermal Fax Machine to 'burn the screens'. (The thermal heat from a special lamp burns the toner from the design copy through the special emulsion on the screen. Wherever a black printed line was is where the paint will pass through the screen.) Before we could start printing we had to attach the screens to plastic frames made for this purpose using a special double sided tape. By one o'clock we finally got the Lumiere fabric paints out.

Below are pieces I produced. I wish I had thought to photograph the set up, and Kathy's fabrics but I didn't. Sorry. We dug out fabrics we'd dyed, stamped etc. and didn't like and tried over painting on them. Most of what I did was try out the new screens we made on solid black or eggplant colored fabric. Here are photos of a long days work. I've got tired bones and sore feet from standing on concrete too long but it was worth it.

My first project was to minimize the orange on this T-shirt - which is not the best color for me but still has plenty of wear left in the shirt. The large pattern is one of my screen designs using a multi-strand bead necklace. Most of my designs I wanted to use as back ground texture on fabric. the round circles are from the end of a toilet paper roll dipped in the paint. The purple secondary pattern is a Marcy Tilton pattern called Dotty. I'm wearing this T as I type and love it!

Upper left on the clothes rack is a Dover clip art design. On the left is a stencil I call Waffle Weave using the cushioned rubber mat to keep floor rugs from slipping. Middle left is another Dover clip art background with a Marcy Tilton Labyrinth circle printed on top. Middle right is a stencil Kathy and I made by putting eye hooks, cup hooks and drywall hooks onto my zerox copier. We call it 'Screw U'. Bottom left is a page of Life quotes Kathy had typed on her computer. She also did one on Happiness. I randomly skewed the printing to fill the gaps and make the fabric more casual looking. Bottom right is a stencil made from a household lace doily - I think meant to be used as a place mat?

The Domino Stencil was created by laying pages of adhesive paper reinforcement rings on my copier in a brick pattern. Cool huh! The middle print was made using another Marcy Tilton stencil which I forget the name of -- I think they are Japanese Tamari balls. On the bottom are four spheres - another Dover Clip Art pattern. I used it on different fabrics to see how it would print. The bright yellow/green is a dyed fabric I did from last summer. The chiffon in the middle prints very nicely and can be overlaid on other surfaces for wonderful surprising effects. Placing a fabric beneath chiffon while printing will create a double print when the paint passes through sheer fabric. Might as well get two prints for the price of one. : ) The scrim-like open weave fabric is a second hand store find. I was surprised how well it printed. Bottom of the rack -- a Marcy Tilton Twig stencil that is quite versatile.

Every bit of this will get used but where, when and how? Perhaps somewhere in a future blog. Feel free to leave your comments and don't forget to click on photos for a close up view. Thanks for stopping in.


  1. Judy !! What a fun and productive session you had and I love all of the different fabrics!!You have done wonders tot he tee shirt and really like the bright purple added!!!! Thanks for you kind comments that you left on my puzzle piece quilt post!! i just love meeting new bloggers! the size of my puzzle pieces is roughly 3.5 x 3.5 inches square, not including the notches and bumps!!
    See you again soon!!

  2. Hi Sistah ! Fantastic job, and great write-up of what we worked on. I actually had my camera with me...I think we got so caught up in doing our art work that neither of us thought to take more pictures. Next "time" for sure :-) Love ya ! Kath