The hand dyed textiles of Wendy Richardson convinced me to covet hand dyed fabrics. Her work is luscious. She takes the most ordinary of fabrics and makes them extraordinary. Outdated, ugly or passe pieces have the potential to become shining stars in her hands.
Seeing the work of admired artists often leads to the conclusion that they are all dyeing their own fabrics (o.k.- not all – but many do). There are many motivations for wanting to build work from fabric of your own creating: it deepens the connection to your work, bears no one else’s creative mark, provides just the foundation that you are looking for and adds to the pleasure of designing. I hope to someday follow that path to become closer to my own work, but for now, I need to make my mark with thread and paint.
What are some of the colourants available to today’s textile artist?
- Jacquard products are a personal favourite. I adore their Lumiere line of metallic dusted paints (Halo Blue Gold is a delight!). They also make Neopaque (for dark fabric coverage), Textile Colors (to maintain the hand of fabric and give good colour) and Dynaflow (an almost ink-like liquid paint)
- Stewart Gill Paints: More than paints, some of their products are masterpieces waiting to pop out of a bottle. The Byzantia line is lush and The Alchemy line is an “interference” selection that takes on a shimmery underglow of a secondary colour.
- Golden Acrylics: are not fabric specific, but the colour selection is rich and sophisticated, providing the colours that someone from the painting and fine arts world would seek out. Also, fabric mediums can be added for workability and washability.
- “Anything on hand” is another good approach. Keep in mind the durability of the paint that you are using on the fabric and try what you may have on hand. Again, fabric medium can be added, but I tend to not wash my creations, so nothing is off-limits, including regular craft paint.
- Inks: I learned to use bottle inks with Lisa Engelbrecht. She works with ink on canvas and uses calligraphy as well as brush work. The fluidity of the ink is a nice change from heavier paints and they come in a surprising range of colours.
- And so on: of course, this is just a taste of fabric colouring possibilities. Prismacolor pencils, Shiva Paintstix, Portfolio Pastels from Crayola, Tsukineko bottled Inks, Fabrico Fabric pens et al add to the buffet of possibilities.
So while I wish to dye, I’ll paint for now. There are plenty of possibilities to keep me busy.