Workshop number 2 at Felt in Focus

The second workshop that I participated in at Felt in Focus was brilliantly facilitated by Kirsten Lundbergh, ‘Print, Paint and Reserve on Silk for Nuno Felting’.  In my innocence I somehow arrived to this two-day workshop with the idea that we would be printing with acid dyes, duuh, Kirsten soon put me right!!!

We started the first morning  getting to know a little bit about Kirsten’s background, really this deserves a whole post to itself but in a nutshell this is an amazing story about quitting a large and successful printing/dying business to spend 13 years teaching women living in remotest Africa (several hours from any electricity, water or facilities) how to dye cloth using simple environmentally friendly methods then showing them how to start micro businesses and bring their product to market.  I found this an absolutely fascinating and inspiring story, it also made us all realise that with the barest minimum of materials and facilities everyone should be able to print successfully without causing any harmful damage to the environment or society.  As a result of this experience all the products Kirsten works with herself and sells through her current business are totally non toxic to use.  It’s very refreshing to know that when working with children and indeed students no special precautions need to be made when printing, very refreshing also if you do tend to be a bit glib like I am!

Kirsten mixing binder and pigment

Moving on from Kirsten’s background we learnt a little about the pigments and binders we would be using.  These binders are the base to which pigments are added prior to printing or painting on your chosen fabric, my presumption re acid dyes had already flown out the window by this stage!!!  Depending on the end result we wanted to achieve there were different binders for silk, cotton, adding an opaque colour, transparent colour, opalescent colour, solid white etc., etc., etc. as well as glue type binders to aid transferring image from print to fabric, magnetic foils, the list goes on and on.  One of the most fascinating was a binder that allows you to print designs (either with or without colour) onto the fabric thereby creating a resist and then when nuno felting no wool can migrate through these areas, the second binder I fell in love with is made exclusively for Kirsten’s and means you can print on silk without altering the structure of the fabric at all, wonderful!!!  More anon …..