Back to shibori printing

After the scarf and pencil roll production line over the past few weeks, it was good to get back to Morley for a day of play and experimentation.

This week we started our eight-week printing block with tutor Mark. It seems odd that this time a year ago I had never done any printing and knew nothing about it. This time I feel like an old hand, helping others coat their screens and finding my way around the binders and pigments with more confidence.

I wanted to continue my experiments combining shibori techniques with screenprinting, which I started last year. I’d prepared some pieces of cotton stitched in parallel rows, as if for mokume (woodgrain) shibori.

Using an open screen, I printed one of these with puff binder. Even normal transparent binder results in a ridged, textured surface – I wanted to see if I could exaggerate this, making it even more 3D.

Pleated fabric printed with puff binder
After printing before pulling the pleats open
After pulling the pleats open
detail of puffed pleats
Detail of puffing in the heat press

When I put the piece in the heat press, it didn’t puff up consistently – I’m not sure why this was. Mark wondered whether the binder was too old. And I think that next time it would be better to remove the threads before using the heat press, as it’s more difficult when the binder has puffed up and set. 🙂 Might be interesting to try this with flock binder as well.

With the other piece I cut three paper circles to use as resists and put them on top of the pleated fabric before printing.

As I opened the pleats, the circles extended to become elliptical – and the pattern was much less distinct when viewed straight on.

However, when viewed from an angle, the ridges are much more apparent, and the pattern reappears. The lower the angle of viewing, the clearer the pattern.

It’s an interesting feature, though I’m not sure how I might use it yet. Maybe a lantern or something that is viewed from below?

All suggestions welcome! 🙂