Friday, November 16, 2012

A new leaf

Actually a lot of new leaves – blue ginkgo leaves – rescued the original disappointing dyeing outcome which you can see here.  I eyed it without much hope for a few weeks and then decided to act.  Just a yard of fabric, just some time spent and some dye used, nothing except my own satisfaction riding on the result.  The first thing I did was restencil the flowers with a resist, impossible, of course, to align the stencil perfectly with the existing flowers, but ultimately I liked the sort of off-register effect that it created.  Then using a very detailed mosaic stencil I went over the entire piece of fabric with thickened blue dye; you can really only see a hint of that in the background.  Next, I traced some actual ginkgo leaves and cut stencils of them which I used to screen print both in blue and blue-purple.  I followed that with screen printing on the Chinese stencil design that I used on the previous tank top. That color, Black Cherry, made the ginkgo leaves look too pale, so I printed on more in darker shades of the blue and blue-purple.  Voilà, it was finished, and I was more than pleased.  Of course, the process was not as effortless and straightforward as I just described.  Rather it was quite time-consuming and there were a lot of "oh nos!" along the way.  (See those little dots of blue?  They began as some accidental drips, but ended up, in my opinion, enhancing the design after I decided to sprinkle dots all over.)

And just a note, for anyone interested in screen printing, I've discovered a great material to use as stencil film, rather than freezer paper which has a finite lifespan.  I was at JoAnn Fabrics when I wondered if tablecloth vinyl would work.  And, yes, it does!  I purchased the thinnest vinyl which was less than $3 for a 60" wide yard, so it's a really cheap material, and the resulting stencil can be washed and re-used ad infinitum.  It's also extremely easy to cut; in fact, it's necessary to go very easy with the Exacto knife. I used it for the ginkgo leaves as well as recut the squiggly shapes in it, so I think it's a real find.


  1. That is stunning. When I first saw it I thought - I wonder where she got such lovely fabric. Great job.

  2. Oh my-I am drooling. You are doing wonderful work.