Cynthia St. Charles Store

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Breakdown Prints

  I recently spent three mornings screen printing with friends (no pictures of the actual event, though, sorry).  We used the "Breakdown" or "Deconstructed" process, which involves the application of alginate thickened dye to the screen, then allowing it to dry.  The dye is later activated by applying either clear alginate or alginate thickened dye to the screen for printing.  The moisture causes the dried dye to soften around the edges, but the part that is still dry acts as a resist.  This creates very interesting prints and no two are alike, because of the dye on the screen breaking down throughout the process.

This is one of the first prints I did.  I covered the back of the silk screen with thickened dye in a dark teal color.  Then, while it was still wet, I used the handle of a spoon to doodle swirls and spirals across the surface.  After it was dry, I printed first with clear alginate.  This clear alginate mixed with the teal blue dye already on the screen and this is how it printed (the dye came through the parts where I had scraped the spirals with the spoon handle, but it did not penetrate the areas of the screen that had thick dye on them). 

 For the next piece of fabric, I switched to thickened red dye for the printing.  The screen continues to break down, affecting the color of the prints and the image.
This fabric is cotton broadcloth that has been presoaked in soda ash solution and allowed to dry on the clothesline.  The dye is activated when it comes in contact with the soda ash in the fabric.

I printed up a lot of fabric over the course of three mornings.  I will show them over the next few weeks.

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