Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It"s Just To Dye For!

I've gotten a little bored with my usual artistic medium lately.  I normally work with polymer clay but recently I seem to be suffering from a creative block where it's concerned.  I really haven't created any new pieces in quite a while.  Maybe it's the weather.  Here, in New England, we've been suffering under some very humid days and I know those of you from the Southeast are going to tell me to put my big girl pants on and suck it up because what we've had here is nothing compared to what you in the South are used to.  But, here in New England, we're just not used to extended humidity and it seems the older I get, the more the humid weather seems to bother me.

Or maybe I'm depressed because I I fell about a month ago and I've still not recovered completely.  I was outside playing basketball with my dog, Finn.  Now, let me explain, he really doesn't play basketball,  he just chases the ball around the yard with his nose.  Anyway, he shoved the ball towards me, I missed it and it started to roll down the hill towards the brook that borders my yard.  Normally, I would have just let it go but that would mean that I'd have to go into the house, put my wellies on, retrieve the ball, take my wellies off and then continue to play with the dog.  So in my infinite wisdom and laziness, I tried to stop the ball.  Slipped on a root, did the splits and ended up on the ground.  Now, normally that kind of fall wouldn't bother me.  I'd pick myself up and limp back to playing with the dog.  This time, though, when I tried to get up, the shooting pain in my leg sent me back to the ground!  I thought I had broken something.  Well, to make a long story short, after a trip to the emergency room in an ambulance, several x-rays and a $75 co-pay later, it turns out that I severely pulled all the muscles along the whole back of my left leg.  They sent me home with extra strength ibuprofin and some muscle relaxers, which I never took.   It might have been better if I had broken something.  At least, then they could have set it and I'd be close to having the cast removed.  As it is I still have some pain in that leg and walking uphill is a literal pain in the left ass cheek!  But I'm getting better and less depressed every day.  And I shouldn't complain, because it could have been much, much worse!

But I digress.  The point of this post is that I've decided to try out some other artistic endeavors until my polymer clay vibe kicks in again.  I've always wanted to try dyeing silk.  Okay, so I didn't use silk  and I didn't use true dye.  I used an old but unworn white T-shirt and some Dye-Na-Flow fabric paints that kind of act like dye.

Since I'm kind of a spur of the moment gal when it comes to art, I, of course didn't have any fabric resist on hand.  So, I went to the bearer of all knowledge, the Internet, and found out that I could use Elmer's washable blue gel school glue, which I did have.  And so I was off!

Yesterday, I dug out the shirt, taped it to a piece of foam board that I covered with a trash bag and "drew" the outline of a simple flower.  It was kind of messy and the lines of glue were a bit thick, and here too is evidence of my impulsive nature, I should have waited and gone to the store for some applicator bottles.  But I didn't.

I let the whole thing dry over night.  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to dampen the shirt before adding the dye or not.  The source of all knowledge failed me and I couldn't find any info on that.  I opted to spray the shirt with water and started dyeing.  I had a few whoopsies along the way but I just added more dye where I accidentally dribbled some, so it looks like I meant to do it!

I did hit a snag when I went to heat set the thing.  I read that  you can wrap the entire thing in plastic wrap and throw it in the microwave to heat set it.  I have never had a good relationship with plastic wrap.  It tends to fight me whenever I try to use it and this time was no exception, so I decided to skip that part.

I did put a plate in between the layers of fabric so that the dye wouldn't seep through to the back side of the shirt.  I popped the whole thing into the microwave, set the timer for 2 minutes and hit start.  It was still a bit damp when it came out, so I put it back in for another 2 minutes.  It was pretty dry after that.  I dunked the whole thing, minus the plate, into a cold water bath to remove the glue.  I had to let it soak for a few minutes before the glue started to softened.  I started scrubbing away, then I noticed that I had scorched the sleeves of the shirt!  I'm thinking the second 2 minutes did it and next time I'll try a different heat setting method.   I'm, also, going to have to cut the sleeves off the dang thing and make it a sleeveless top.  But in my experience, art is always an ever evolving thing and you learn as you go.  Here's my new T-shirt, still sopping wet and hanging upside down from the clothesline.








Close up of the "design"

20 comments:

  1. Nancy, that is really cool! Hope your leg feels better soon, but the downtime gave you a new skill. I can absolutely appreciate and understand where you're coming from about having these impulses and going crazy with makeshift things rather than following instructions! You either get great art (like your shirt) or a pile of scrap like some of my beads ;) Enjoyed the post. Julie and Blu

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    1. Thanks Julie. I did have fun doing the shirt. Have to try again when I have all the right tools.

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  2. Well my goodness and bless your little heart! So sorry to hear about your leg. The t-shirt is lovely. Looks like you enjoyed the new art experience. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. LOVE your design and the story abut how it came to be. Although I am sorry you fell and hurt yourself. Seamus and I am sending healing mojo so that you are back 100% soon. (I once mega sprained an ankle and the doctor said it would have been better for me to have broken it because it would have healed faster. Totally understand your thoughts on that!)

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    1. Thanks Catherine. I'm getting a little better every day and hope to be totally back to normal soon, we're planning to go away for a few days of hiking.

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  4. Gorgeous shirt. I feel your pain with the fall. Did that myself a few days ago. Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Thanks Cathy. Hope you didn't get hurt too badly.

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  5. Wow, that seems to be a great experiment you did. It turned out so pretty! I love it. I'm sorry to hear about your leg though. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

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  6. Hey...I have to give you a thumbs up for being so creative. I would never have the nerve to try what you did. Kudos to you! Keep up the good work. Hope your leg feels better soon.....I have sciatica and know about pain in the butt!! :-)

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    1. Thanks Kat. I've been wanting to try this for a while and since I have the fabric paints and an old t-shirt, I figured why not! Sorry to hear about your sciatica. Have you ever tried some yoga stretches to help. I had sciatica years ago and after two weeks of stretches for my back and legs, it went away and never came back.

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  7. The painted flower looks wonderful! The blue tie dye looks so crisp against the white shirt and the design reminds me of Hawaii. I bet you can figure out how to make the sleeves look great, too. Sorry about your pulled muscles - no fun at all! Sending healing wishes your way.

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    1. Thanks for your compliment and commiseration! I'm thinking on how to fix the sleeves!

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  8. I am sorry to hear about the fall but sometimes clouds have a silver lining! The dye project is really nice! I hope you get back to "normal" wellness soon!

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    1. I'm feeling better everyday. Thanks for the compliment! I appreciate all of your comments.

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  9. What a great read Nancy. Sorry of course that you hurt your back and leg, but what resulted was creative free thinking and inspiration to try something new. The process sounded a little complex, but the end result is quite beautiful I have to say! Well done!
    Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Thanks Lisa. My leg is feeling better. The whole process wasn't that bad. it was only that I was doing it for the first time. I'm sure the next one will be easier!

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  10. Ouch! Sorry you are going through so much pain and hope you heal quickly. How creative of you to experiment around and create such a lovely flower. It reminds me of the flower on the last Project Runway show called Heidi and Gunn. They handpainted some blue flowers on a collection of clothing for that show. Get well soon!

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    1. Thanks Covergirlbeads! I don't watch the show so I didn;t see it. But it was fun to experiment!

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