Book Making, General, Printing

Research – 7th September 2020

I have begun to think about another in the series ‘Half a yard of Memories”  I hadn’t thought that i would do more but a larger project started to emerge and it depended on me expanding on the subjects of lace, woven and stitch which were the subjects in the last few books and so I have now embarked on print.

I spread out relevant books and sample fragments and meandered around the pieces, took notes and thought! 

I settled upon Madder.

Briefly – Madder is the red dye from the Chay root, but when we see printed fabrics like the ones shown they have not been printed with madder they have been printed with mordants and are then submerged into a dye bath with the madder dye. A mordant is a compound which allows the dye to penetrate and fix onto the fabric and to make it colourfast. India had perfected this technique and it is what made the fabrics imported into Europe in the C17th so brilliant. However the methods to colour the cotton was long and complicated. There were several washing, bleaching ( with cow or camel dung!) and drying stages and different mordants gave different colours, alum for pinks through to reds and iron mordants for violets through to blacks.

Whilst I am familiar with my textile fragments and the contents of my books, going through the source material again is really searching for a story that I haven’t explored before and that will I feel give my finished piece greater validity and depth of meaning.

Detailed printing to a finely woven cotton

Good quality print to cotton, probably mid C18th, Mary Stuart revival, the character are wearing tartan and she is escaping with a casket marked with a heart. The fragment has been reused and the queens head is horizontal underneath the arm pit as a lining.

Poor quality printing to roughly woven fabric. They wouldn’t have wasted good printing onto poor quality fabric.

Late C18th fine cotton with quality printing showing stories of a Biblical or historical nature

Trying out some folded styles all 18 inches long

On a practical note – I did print out my Christmas cards!