[Marbling] Re: dyes
- The question has come up about using dyes for marbling, and I can respond to that. For the most part, dyes do get further dissolved in the size., and therefore don't work. However, I have had a great class, taught by Lisa Gray, at one of the Surface Design Conferences in Kansas City, Missouri, in which we used disperse (sublimation) dyes for marbling.
These are dyes which come in powdered form, are dissolved in water, and can be used on both fabrics (only synthetics) and on paper. We used methylcel as size. We also used alum to prepare the fabric, but having used these dyes in other settings, I am not sure that is necessary, but have not tested that yet. They are heat set with a press; in class we used the heavy printing press so we could set the temperature (don't remember that right now) and have really heavy pressure as well as an exhaust system. That said, I have processed these with my home sewing press or iron, again with good ventilation. These dyes go from a dry state to a gaseous state with heat, then back to a dry state. The colors are quite brilliant for the most part, and usually look little like the color on the fabric or paper before being developed with the heat and pressure. For example, the dye may look like a very dark red on the paper or fabric, and develop into a screaming brilliant pink, so testing and working up a color chart is important. If painted or printed on paper, then pressed onto fabric, it is often possible to get successive prints of decreasing brightness.
While they float, they are less manageable than acrylics or watercolors, and so the result is more abstract. And if you squint or hold your tongue just right, they can blossom into fanciful flower shapes. In addition, we found that the dye seems to sometimes "coagulate" (for want of a better term) on the size and you get bits of the dried dye on the paper or fabric, which of course are developed along with the rest of the pattern, giving you speckles where you might not want them.
Truthfully, I have not gone back to these dyes since the class. Just have not had the time, but they were fun to play with.
Happy holidays to all list members, and thank you for sharing all the information! That can only make all of us better marblers!
Caryl Hancock, Indianapolis, Indiana
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