Recently I’ve spent a lot of time looking at books of techniques for fabric design. The latest is Fabric Surface Design by Cheryl Rezendes. This 2013 title covers just about every surface design technique out there except dyeing. Twelve chapters address stenciling, nature printing, gelatin prints, silk-screening, resists, image transfer, marbling, foiling, and more.
Just for fun, leading practitioners of the various techniques are profiled in each chapter. And then chapters on color theory and composition are thrown in, along with resources and reading lists.
I followed the instructions for a few of the techniques – ones I already have the supplies for. I’ve also picked up tips for using materials like Paintstiks. Cheryl suggests creating a palette for your Paintstiks by taping masking tape to a plate and then smearing across the tape with your stick. You then load up your stencil brush with color and apply it to your fabric. I had been mashing my stencil brush into the tip of the stick.
First, I tried scrunching fabric in a plastic bag and then adding diluted paint. I used Jacquard fabric paint in periwinkle. Given how wet the fabric still was the morning after, I think I wet it down too much.
As you can see, my fabrics turned out quite pastel, though the PFD Kona on the upper right took paint the best. The fabric on the left is a white on white print, so adding color gives it extra interest. I’ll probably overprint this fabric as it’s rather uninteresting.
The other technique I tried involved Derwent Inktense pencils, which I already owned. Per the book, I ironed my fabric (PFD Kona) onto freezer paper, drew lines on the dry fabric, then sprayed the fabric, went over areas with a wet brush, and finally drew more with the pencils.
I’m not the only one inspired to try techniques from the book. On And Then We Set It On Fire Linda tried using fabric paint to create shibori effects.
If you’re looking for ideas about ways to alter/enhance fabric you can’t go wrong with this book. Some methods seem more completely described than others, but the author makes a valiant effort at completeness. And I really want to try some of the ideas for homemade stamps.