Shibori and screen printing

Last week, my attempts to print with an open screen produced some interesting speckled effects, which I wanted to reproduce.

At first I thought they were caused by the paper template falling on the wet ink and removing it. But on closer inspection, my tutor Mark and I decided that they were caused by creases in the fabric (I hadn’t ironed it very well) preventing the ink from reaching certain parts.

So here are the results of this week’s experiments of printing on creased fabric.

Here I just washed and wrung out a piece of cotton calico and left it to dry. When I pinned it out, I didn’t try to stretch or flatten it. Then I did one pull with an open screen. The result is similar to last week, but over a much larger area:

In the two pieces below, I stitched along both vertical edges of the fabric and also two lines down the centre. Then I pulled them to create pleats – it felt very similar to shibori. You can still see some of the stitches in the photos below.

After pinning the fabric to the print table, I did three pulls with an open screen, which forced some of the ink through the pleated layers, resulting in a pleasing mottled effect. The shapes remind me of squid; someone else in the class thought they looked like bones and joints:

In the top photo I used translucent binder, which gave a greater range and depth of colour. The piece in the bottom photo was printed with opaque binder; the effect is much flatter and more matt.

Because so much ink was pushed through, I put a heavier piece of cotton drill underneath one of the pieces of  calico above – so getting two prints for the price of one:

Finally, I tried a similar technique using silver pearl binder on shiny transparent polyester. With only three lines of stitching, the pattern was less complex:

I love this effect, because it results in more texture. Previously, I’ve used stitch after printing to add texture, but this uses stitch to provide texture before/during printing. As Mark said, “It’s like shibori but more heavy handed”. And you know how much I like shibori!

As an added bonus,  it also means that I don’t have to go through the time-consuming process of coating and exposing a screen!

This was the final session of this term. After a very slow start, I feel that the printing sessions have finally come together and provided a base from which I can experiment further.

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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

12 thoughts on “Shibori and screen printing”

  1. Not to let your readership be misled in that if screen printing on silk that you have treated with soda ash to take the print properly then you would never iron the silk prior to print but stretch it out with tape on your print table.

    What make of binders are you using –the English or the American system, I am sure your readers would love to know what to get?

    1. Thanks for the info Chrissie. I’ve never printed on silk, so I don’t know about pretreating it. As this course was just about learning and experimenting with basic printing techniques I generally used fabric from the scraps chest at college. This week it was mostly cotton calico.

      The binders we use are Selectasine from George Weil.

  2. MMMM kim, these are lovely effects. I could be adapting someof these if you dont mind. ( I’m behind with my Morley blogging due to school Xmas commitments.)

  3. Hi Vidhi,

    As I explained in the post, I stitched four rows of running stitch: one along each edge of the fabric and two down the centre. Then I pulled the stitching up so the fabric formed pleats, pinned the pleated fabric to the print table and printed on top with an open screen. It’s best to let it dry a bit before removing the stitches, or you’ll get binder all over you.

    You can see more experiments with this technique in this post, where there were a lot more lines of stitching a lot closer together.

    Good luck!

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