Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

14 August 2008

Discharging a T-shirt

Michael's, the craft chain, had t-shirts on sale 2/$5 this week, so I've been having a little fun.

When I made the Introvert shirt, I was in a hurry not to lose the idea, and didn't take any pictures.

These photos show how I did it. For the Introvert shirt I made a stencil of the letters instead of using leaves.

First I got this brand-new, unwashed shirt wet and wrung it out. Some people say you must wash them first to remove excess dye, but that depends on your patience level. You can discharge on dry material, and you will get sharper lines. Wet fabric will give slightly softer lines as the bleach migrates into the wet material.

The thingie in the picture is a Chlorox bleach pen, which is basically a tool for putting a weak bleaching agent on a stain. Mine is full of a cleanser called SoftScrub with bleach.

I brush all along the edges of the leaf with the big end of the bleach pen. You could also apply the bleaching agent with a synthetic-bristle paintbrush. The bleach will eat up the bristles of a natural-bristle brush.

When I was a kid, "cleanser" was a dry scrubbing powder like Bon Ami or Ajax that came in a can that you shook on a stain or into a toilet. These days in the US they sell a lot of wet cleansers, a slurry of dry powder cleanser.

If you live in a country that has never heard of such a thing, it's about a 2% solution of sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach). To me, the advantage is that the white scrubbing powder shows me where the bleaching agent is going without waiting for the fabric to turn colors.

(Before you ask, no, it doesn't eat the fabric right away.)

After I've brushed around the edges of the leaf, I have a leaf all limned with bleach. I find another spot on the shirt and press the leaf bleach-side downwards to use that up.

When I pick up the leaf, it leaves its image behind, sort of a Kirlian photography effect without the high voltage.
The other end of the bleach pen is narrow enough to use for drawing or writing with this stuff. I've rinsed the neck and sleeves so I don't have to worry about smearing it onto itself. You can see that the black dye is discharging orange.

After laundering and drying, the camera makes the black looks dusty, but the discharged areas are more orange and obvious.

My son watched me do this one. He says, "That shirt is cool! Can you make me one?" so I guess I need to buy another t-shirt.



Blogger Terby said...

That's very cool. The leaf outlines are fantastic.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Roxie said...

That is just too cool for school!! Painting with soft-scrub . . . You are SO clever!

9:20 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I would not have thought of soft-scrub as a paint or for use in a bleach pen. What a great idea. The leaves look great like that and I like the soft lines it leaves behind.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

Very cool -- what a fun project! And definitely something to remember to do with my girls; they'd love it :)

3:01 PM  
Blogger Bells said...

what an incredibly cool idea. That turned out beautifully.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Bethelia said...

Awesome, and I see that you have eliminated the problem of people coming up to ask you what kind of leaves you used! What a smart introvert you are! :-) Love & hugs!

10:34 AM  

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