I was intrigued by the uncooked flour resist, a 1:1 mixtures of flour and cold water. After whisking them to a smooth paste, I spread it fairly thinly on my fabric, then raked through it with a notched plastic trowel. I didn't achieve the pronounced pattern she shows in her example because it was a bit difficult to rake through the thin paste while keeping the fabric flat and unwrinkled. The next day the resist had dried to a hard, brittle surface which I crinkled up here and there to all allow the dye to penetrate. I was somewhat cautious in my crinkling, unsure of how much dye would go through.
|dye on resist|
What next? I remembered some very simple fish stencils from Stencilling by Lynne Robinson & Richard Lowther which seemed just the thing. In their book, the fish are stenciled "swimming" across the front of a piece of furniture, the lighter colored large fish reading as a shadow of the darker large fish, which I don't think is obvious on my top, although I quite like the fish as design elements. I tried out placement by cutting the designs out of construction paper first, then I stenciled the fish and the arcs by dabbing on three related colors with small natural sponges.
Here they are freshly stenciled, much darker than before they are cured, washed and dried. I thought I was done, but after what should have been the final washing, the background looked too light, so I did another round of flour resist and dye, using a bit darker colors and being bolder in my crushing up the paste-covered fabric to let more dye through. Last little touch was to dot on fish eyes of metallic fabric paint. And, of course, sew up the top.
I'm already planning my next adventure in dyeing and surface design. If you've ever had the urge to try it, just do it! Make something you can wear or use, and have fun. Just keep in mind, it's only an experiment; do the best you can, but don't let perfectionism (my bugaboo) deter you. You'll be amazed at what you can create.