For this sample, I wanted to do an open silkscreen print of the stained area from an inkcap mushroom print. I used procion dyes to build up a stain, and once it was dry, I printed it onto fabric. As you can see, the print didn’t come out, possibly because I didn’t use enough fabric medium. To get a similar effect without staining the screen again, I used the dyes directly onto the fabric. This didn’t allow me to get the watercolour effect I could get from the open screenprint, but once I have worked into the sample, it should still look OK. I had to use yellow dye, as I couldn’t make or find a similar colour to the stain, and then I dipped the fabric in tea to soften and mute the bright yellow.
I then used monoprint to add in the inky spore print and stains. I found it hard to add depth using monoprint, and I wanted to capture the contrast between the inky black stains and the lighter spore print details. To solve this, I used water to bleed the mono printing ink I had put down and paint the lighter stains. I am happy with the effect of mixing water in with the ink achieved, and I can see this being a print for interiors or a wall hanging. I also found it hard to work on a larger scale, and as a result, the larger drawing doesn’t seem to fit in the stain. I still want to work into this sample, adding stitch and ruffles to add texture and interest to the piece.
To add texture and a 3D element to this sample, I free machine-stitched around the stain with yellow and grey-black thread to match the colours I used. I think the stitch helps add a lot more texture and movement to the sample, as it slightly gathered and moved the fabric when I sewed it. I then made a few ruffles out of extra calico and sewed them into circles to make them look like the gills of mushrooms and emulate Caroline Bartlett’s tightly pleated circular artworks. I felt the ruffles stood out and clashed too much with the sample in their natural colour, so I soaked them in tea overnight to give them a similar colour to the stain. I sewed them on with black thread to add more pattern with the circle I stitched. I thought that there were not enough of the ruffles to make an impact, so I made a lot more and sewed them onto the sample, so it looked like there were clusters of mushroom gills all around the spore print. I think the edition of more ruffles made it more natural and less placed.
Caroline Bartlett is a UK based textiles designer whose work explores the historical, social and cultural associations of textiles and their ability to trigger memories. She uses printing, stitch, pleating and folding fabric to make her artwork. Bartlett is inspired by various artists such as Yoshika Wada and Anne Hamilton and her life experiences. I think the way Bartlett has mixed printing and stitch with tight pleating is effective and adds dimension to what could be a very flat piece. I tried to create tightly pleated circles like Bartlett for this sample, but without machinery, it was hard to get the close folds that she has in her work