Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dyes or inks?

Recently I have been playing with surface design by scraping and stamping onto cotton with screen printing inks. Inks, because that is what I had to hand when I decided to play one day and I liked the result. My 20/12 Metamorphosis and Vilakazi Street were both made that way. Last week I spent time with friends in a church hall playing with thickened procion dyes. The piece on the left is screen inks and on the right dyes. I deliberately put heavier stamping on the dyed one but otherwise in terms of colour brightness, nothing in it. The inked piece has a very slight stiffening to the hand of the fabric but nothing that troubles me or makes the slightest problem when handstitching. It is certainly not plasticised. Both media mix well and give the same transparancy. (I mix transparent extender into the inks, again straight from a jar, to further increase transparency if required.)

So which will I use in the future? Well, the screen ink process involves me pinning the fabric straight from the bolt onto my print surface, mixing the inks straight from a pot on a perspex sheet, scraping with a credit card and stamping ( I have been using stamps cut with an x- acto knife from a WH Smith eraser) and leaving it. It is dry in a couple of hours max and ready to use.

The dying involves making print paste and dye solutions and mixing them, then mixing the resulting paste colours. The fabric needs to be presoaked in soda ash. Both of those processes require the use of a mask. Then I pin scrape and stamp as with inks but then must wrap in plastic and cure for at least four hours, ideally overnight. Then there are several washings out by hand and by machine with synthropol and then it has to be either tumble dried or my preference is to drip dry overnight. Thats a lot more than two hours from jar to useage.

Screen inks for me then, at least for the fabrics which suit the background of my current series. I am currently using inks from Thermofax Screens. That said, the next 20/12 ( due for reveal on 12th July) will use the dyed fabric you can see above, but with a section scraped over with inks to give a colour closer to Metamorphosis.


Vilakazi Street


Sandy said...

I am glad you got to the point where you said you got the screen inks from Thermofax Screens. I guess that means textile screen inks?

I couldn't tell if you meant printers inks or inks for textiles. I used printers inks at one time and it took weeks to dry. They crocked onto other fabrics. I finally got the black to stop by ironing it onto another fabric...there was enough of an image to make a useful fabric in its own right.

I agree about the easier results with the textile screen inks. I guess unless you were screening great blocks of colour or used a very heavy application, there is no noticable difference to the hand of the fabric.
Sandy in Bracknell

Helen Conway said...

They are described as water based screen inks but they can be used on paper as well as fabric. But no they are not printer inks. They have a sort of gloopy consitency like textile paints rather than being liquid. 

Linda said...

I'm so pleased to see the results of your research! It was the pre-planning that put me off, and I must admit my pieces cured for longer than 24 hours because I forgot about them!

Sandy I tried printers inks once, I loved the effect but one piece never seemed to lose it's slightly tacky feeling.

Karen Rips said...

I like your results Helen. Is there a difference cost wise?