Tuesday, August 31, 2010

August Begets Geckos

This month I decided to create a new pattern featuring a creature.  Most of my patterns are geometric or floral, so I figured it's time for a change.  I found a picture of this wonderful stylized lizard in a pattern book:

I have used this gecko motif before for a stencil design.  I copied the design onto freezer paper, cut out the lizard shape with an exacto knife and ironed it onto a black tee shirt. I had discharged the tee shirt with some bleach cleanser and it had some neat rusty brown streaks all over it.  I decided to stencil this lizard onto the bottom hem of the tee with Lumiere metallic copper paint. It got rave reviews! I decided to take a second look at this lizard and thought it might make a very nice batik pattern.

According to my pattern book, this motif is from the Ivory Coast.  My pattern book doesn't indicate how it was used -- whether on ceramics,  beaded, woven....but I thought it would work really well on fabric, repeated in a grid pattern.

For batik, keep in mind that the areas that are waxed will remain white or the color of your fabric before you dye it.  So, for this motif, I applied wax everywhere EXCEPT in the black area shown in the picture. The dye will  penetrate the unwaxed areas, leaving a pattern of dyed geckos on a white background. Of course, the beauty of batik is that in the waxed areas, dye will seep through cracks in the wax and create lovely fissures of color, so the background will not be pure white. In order to fit the fabric into my sink that is 18" square, I have to fold the fabric (gently). This also creates cracks in the wax and more opportunities for the dye to bond with the fabric.

 So far, I've created this pattern in  Lichen Green and Navy Blue.  In the picture of the navy blue colorway you can really get a good idea of the unique crackled look of batik.  I'll be experimenting with a dark red colorway next.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A New Pattern called Romulus

I didn't have time to post this before running out the door to Canada, so I'm updating my fabric friends now.  I introduced two new textile patterns in August. The first pattern I'm calling Romulus.  It's a pattern based on a Roman mosaic tile. You've probably already noticed I'm very fond of mosaic patterns. I enjoy their regular linear form and how they fit together to make interesting patterns, whether on a floor, wall, or a piece of fabric.

On the left you'll see the pattern on paper in black and white.

The black areas of the pattern will be waxed, the white areas will remain unwaxed. Then, when I dye the fabric, the waxed areas (black) will remain white (or the color of my original fabric), and the white areas will absorb and react with the dye.

I waxed the fabric in my new pattern and then dyed it in a bold lichen green. For this piece, I used a 4% depth of shade.  If I like the hue and value and want to be able to replicate it, keeping track of the depth of shade I used is critical.

Here's the finished piece --


I really like this pattern!  As with most mosaic patterns I find they work best with strong contrasts. Next, I'll try this pattern in deep navy or dark red.

This fabric is available in my Etsy store:

Romulus 20" wide by 38" long

Thanks for sharing my creative process.