I saw the most beautiful thing when I came home from “Quilting Arts TV” taping last week. Not only had all of the snow melted while I was away, but a small patch of bright green moss shimmered among the dull brown weeds on the hill behind my home. This spot of emerald was the first sign of spring I’d seen this season.
Green is my absolute favorite color and I surround myself with it. The walls in my bedroom are painted avocado green, so it’s the first color that greets me when I wake, and I’ve set my computer desktop to green so it’s the color I stare at most throughout the day. In my studio at night I have a tendency to print and dye fabrics some shade of kiwi or apple, and my fattest stash of commercial fabrics? You guessed it: all shades of green.
No wonder St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays (and not just because I’m part Irish). It celebrates everything green represents: warmer and longer days ahead, the promise of a blossoming garden very soon, and an overall celebration of creativity.
A few days ago when I was in a particularly creative mood, I decided to batik fabrics using a flour paste resist process Jane Dunnewold demonstrated on the “QATV” set last week. It’s also a process on her upcoming Quilting Arts Workshop DVD, Screen Printing Sampler: 4 Fun & Innovative Ways to Make Artful Cloth. Of course, I dyed mine in shades of green
This is a simple yet satisfying process. Here’s an overview:
- Mix 1 cup ordinary while flour with 1 cup cold water (not hot, or the paste will be gluey) and stir until the lumps are gone.
- Pour the paste over the top of your fabric. Spread it over the fabric with a squeegee. Make sure you haven’t missed any spots.
- At this point, you can let the paste dry thoroughly, and it will form a simple crackle. Or, you can use a skewer to draw designs in the paste, then let dry.
- When the paste has dried completely, gently scrunch the fabric up, crackling the hardened paste.
- Apply a coat of thinned black (or other color–I used green here) textile or craft paint over the flour surface, working it into the cracks (or design) and let the paint dry completely.
- Wait at least 24 hours for the paint to set, then soak the fabric in warm water until the paste dissolves. Wash in the washing machine to fully remove the paste (you don’t need detergent).
- Dry in the dryer and press with a hot iron. Use as is, add more paint, or over-dye.
For a more detailed description of the process, see the February/March 2008 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, now available on CD as part of the 2008 Quilting Arts CD Collection, and look for Jane’s Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video coming soon.