Textile Printing at Leeds Art College

Hello everyone!
I thought it was about time for a full round up of my Textile Printing course. This is going to be picture heavy I’m afraid and I’ve not even included all the pictures!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 1 and 2 we worked with disperse printing using heat set dyes on man made fabrics. Using paper soaked in dye and a giant heatpress, I played with geometric shapes on coloured polyester and crepe.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art collegealmond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 3 we made paper stencils using scalpels and when taped to mesh screens we could pull binder ink through onto any fabric we liked. Mine was an utter disaster due to poor squeegee technique and rubbish stencil.

Week 4 was about free form painting direct onto a screen using Procion reactive dyes. I printed a splatter print onto cotton lawn and silk.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 5 and 6 we prepped for future sessions by coating screens in light sensitive emulsion and thanks to a huge light box we exposed imagery onto the mesh. We drew the images in thick black pen to act as positives and when the screen was exposed the black areas washed away creating a negative that would allow ink to pass through in just those areas. I chose pineapples!!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

While our screens set we also dyed silk, satin, velvet and cotton in big pans using tiny amounts of dye and lots of hot water. Excitingly I also got to use the digital printers while our fabrics soaked! I printed 1.5m of paper crane print cotton drill and 1.5m of painterly triangle print silk.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 7 was the start of my pineapples adventures! We pulled binder ink through our screens onto any fabrics we wanted. I chose to print fluorescent pink ink on white cotton and crepe de chine and black ink on brown polyester.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 8 we tried discharge screenprinting where a smelly seaweed-based paste bleaches the colour from dyed fabric. As well as devore printing which removes cellulose fibres leaving the man made fabric base behind – e.g removing the nap from velvet to create a relief. I used my pineapple screen again to discharge print on my dyed cotton and silk. And freestyled a brush painted devore print on my dyed satin and velvet.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college
almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 9 and 10 I decided to expose a new screen with hummingbirds and printed onto some colourful viscose. I printed teal ink on pink and pink ink on purple. Plus I had time for a sneaky little bit more disperse printing.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

It was such a wonderful course, I’m actually a little sad I can’t repeat it next term but I’ve already signed up to a pattern drafting course.

Here are the details for Textile Printing: The course I did was a short evening course run by Leeds Art College, over 10 weeks for 2.5hrs. The tutor is Kirstie Williams who also runs independent print courses.

The course costs £185 with all materials provided but you bring extra if you want to print something specific.

I ended up with enough fabric for 3 dresses, 4 tops, and plenty of A2 pieces for tote bags or small garments – silk pineapple knickers perhaps?!

The new term starts in a couple of weeks so I suggest you sign yourself up asap if you’re interested!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

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Never Mind The Pollocks

Hello everyone. I’m back to share some progress from my textile printing evening class!

For Week Four we used Procien dyes to hand paint screens and used a substance called manutex to push the colour onto the fabric.

Now being a terrible freehand artist this scared me. I started obsessing over what was the simplest geometric shape I could draw without it looking wobbly and crap. Then I realised I could splatter my dye like Jackson Pollock! So I investigated a couple of techniques – dribbling and spraying the dyes.

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

My tutor advised spraying by flicking the bristles of a brush or toothbrush would be best because the dye has to completely dry before being able to print and thick dribbles might slow things down. I was able to apply three colours (it took 25 mins to dry in between each).

You get to print twice with this method. The first print comes out very vibrant and the second ghostly. We were advised to try cotton first, then silk.

My cotton lawn turned out better than I could have hoped when I first lifted the screen.

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

But it did fade after steam setting. Still pretty but not as intense colours.almond rock procion dyes textile printingalmond rock procion dyes textile printing

The raw silk turned out pale and delicate.

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

I’ve got extra of the cotton lawn and silk unprinted so I think I can make two tops with splattered fronts or use the prints as accents. I’m still working it out as I know I won’t have time until the end of the course to sew anything up.

Both prints sort of remind me of Jawbreaker gobstobbers… which I like.

almond rock procion dyes textile printing

 “Here comes the science”

Procien is the principal brand name for what are actually reactive dyes. They take their name from their ability to form strong covalent bonds with cellulose fibres, resulting in excellent washing and light fastness properties. This process can be used on all types of cottons and viscose rayon but also work quite nicely on raw silk. So basically natural, smooth close-woven fabrics.

Dye is applied by hand-painting directly onto the screen. Manutex is an Alginate based thickener made from seaweed that can be used to thicken Procion dyes for screenprinting OR as we used them, as a “pulling” agent to push the dyes through the screen.

PHEW! So a lot of info in this blog post and I don’t know whether you’re all finding it interesting. I hope you are enjoying reading my updates as much as I’m enjoying the classes.

I’ll be back soon with finished sewing, I promise. I just need to upload my photos!

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