Fragments make one whole

It's been awhile since my last entry. We've had another marbling workshop since then at the Hive, this time with a clothing up-cycling theme. Again it was fully booked! No better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, what with all that warm, happy, creative buzz when you bring a whole bunch of people together, all passionate about textiles craft. Pictorial documentation of our happy day here!

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I've been working on a small personal collection of limited one-offs.

'Fragments make one whole' is the theme for this spring summer collection, inspired by a quote from Anais Nin. 

"There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic."

Somehow, that really struck a chord. The process is fragmented, like our experiences in life, but the teaching and final coming together, is illuminative. The way I envisage the collection is a patchwork of disparate, handcrafted elements, all coming together in their slightly fragmented rough-hewn, slightly imperfect way for a beauty that is ephemeral. 

This will be a capsule collection of classics utilising handcrafted fabrics, with marbling and shibori natural dyeing techniques, with some collaborative haute-couture embroidery! Very excited. The outcome should be precious. A sneak peek here with some pictures of the process...

Accordion-pleated shibori dyeing in madder root

Accordion-pleated shibori dyeing in madder root

Unravelling the shibori piece, always an exciting (sometimes fearful) moment!

Unravelling the shibori piece, always an exciting (sometimes fearful) moment!

On the marbling tray...

On the marbling tray...

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Troubleshooting Suminagashi

I've recently been asked this, and since it's also taken me a few trials to grasp Suminagashi marbling, I've decided to write a post on this relatively easy yet incredibly therapeutic printmaking technique. If you follow these steps, you should be able to ALWAYS achieve nice, clearly defined concentric circles. The fun then comes with manipulating and experimenting circles, colours etc. Preparation and having the right material is key.

Suminagashi is possible on water (I think), but I do it as a marbling technique simply because marbling on a thick viscous base gives you better control over how the inks spread.

4 points:

1) The base - I use Carrageenan marbling base (Carrageenan is a seaweed extract to thicken water. It comes in a powder form that you blend with water. Prepare and refrigerate this 24 hours ahead of printmaking)

2) Brush A dipped in ink. (I use Jacquard marbling ink, it is concentrated, spreads well and fixes onto fabric or paper)

3) Brush B dipped in dispersant/surfactant (to disperse the ink) (I use Jacquard synthetic gall but it is very strong, so use it 50% diluted).

4) Alum. Preparing your paper or fabric with alum solution prior to pulling your prints will ensure that the inks do not just slide off. Having said that, I used no alum in my first marbling trial and still managed to pull some prints, just with less definition.

Alternate between dipping brush A and brush B onto the surface of the water. It's a practice in steady-hands, my idea of meditative fun!

Tips:

- To get darker circles/rings, you need the ink to be concentrated. And the more times you dip the inked brush tip onto the water surface, the more ink there'll be and the darker the resultant rings. Do that a few times before dipping the dispersant brush.

- Shorter time interval (faster dipping) between the dipping of inked brush vs dispersant brush will lead to tighter circles. For bigger gaps between rings, either increase concentration of dispersant on the brush or dip dispersant brush longer/more times onto the water surface.

Hope this helps! Happy printmaking ~~

 

 

Experimenting with Suminagashi marbling

It's been a productive 2 days marbling, and so satisfying to have pulled some amazing prints! The one on fabric is done using synthetic gall dispersal followed by Suminagashi swirls. 

Love the way the prints adhere to fabric, skims all the ink right off the surface, onto the fabric, for some truly tadaaa moments! LOVE working in black and white that somehow just allows me to concentrate on the lines without stressing out too much on the colour stories.

Holding my first ever marbling workshop here in H.K on 7th Oct! 

 

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