There is so much in this town to keep a girl from her blog! However, a very worthwhile and blog-friendly distraction is the Textile Arts Center which has it's main location in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus (there is a smaller space in Manhattan). And Gowanus is a distraction in itself, at least for me, because it is so very unusual. It is only one neighborhood away from where I live but when I walk there, I feel like I've gone to a different part of the country.
As you can see, it is very industrial. For some reason, the neighborhood feels like it could be somewhere in the midwestern United States. There are a lot of big industrial warehouses and large parking lots full of trucks here and there. That is not something you run into in other parts of New York City.
Gowanus is mostly known for the very polluted Gowanus Canal. Yes, that is real Gowanus Canal water you see in the lower left corner of the picture above. There are some controversial plans to clean it up. Nothing is done around here without controversy! It's our favorite sport.
Anyway, back to the Textile Arts Center! I discovered the center when I was searching for a neighborhood to live in and it was one of the many signs that I had finally found a place to call home!
As they say in their mission statement, "....the Textile Arts Center aims to preserve ancient handcrafts and techniques..". I support that 100%!
Here we are gathered for the first night of class, which is "Printing with Dyes (rather than inks)". Or, rather than fabric paint, as I would call it. Amazing, right? I had to find out about that! Turns out the class is more of a silk-screening class, but that's OK, I can bend it to my own printing techniques (hopefully). I love silk-screening, it's just not something I can do at home and home is all the studio space that I have at the moment! Although one can rent studio time at the Textile Arts Center. That's a plus and something I hope to make use of someday.
Here is my first dye screen test. I didn't know what I was going for, so I just printed out a design off of my computer on to transparent vellum. The vellum print-out was then exposed to the photo emulsion I had applied to my screen, resulting in an image I could practice with. You know, mixing the dye and getting the feel of how it would work in the screen printing process. The dye is basically mixed into this paste type stuff that is made from (what else?) print paste mix! I'm sure you are appreciating this high-tech information.
I brought some of my dyed print paste home so I could see how it would work with fabric stamping. The advantage would be that the dye would soak into the fabrics a little better than paint. And the advantage of that would be that the dye would not change the drape or texture of the fabric as much as paint would.
My first test was not a big success. The stamped image is more uneven than it would be with paint.
But, I have not given up on this just yet.......
Amazed that I had never heard of printing with dyes before.