Paint or Dye

I was enjoying the posts over at The Snarky Quilter’s (SQ) blog where SQ and a friend share their steps and early results following Mickey Lawler’s  techniques to create some painted fabric.

The Snarky Quilter's paint set-up

The Snarky Quilter’s paint set-up

They made some neat fabric pieces and a little discussion ensued regarding painted fabric. SQ commented that painters working in oil also paint on fabric. Some of us think of painting on fabric as a “newish” technique. I hadn’t really thought of it as she did. I have been painting on fabric for a long time and continue to explore. SQ’s comment got me thinking though… As fiber and quilt artists who paint on fabric, we have a special consideration: we want to create layers but we know that needles are going to penetrate the surface, and that needles through painted fabric leave holes!

beauty on the trails

Paint washes and then stitched. “Beauty on the Trail” by Ann

That is one of the biggest advantages of dyeing versus painting; dye changes the hand of the fabric very little, if at all, and usually less than paint. Color washes are probably the best way to achieve layers on fabric that will be stitched without causing a thick layer of paint (and big holes!). Another alternative – Stitch or quilt and then paint.

above lake cuyamaca detail

Here border was quilted and then painted over. “Beyond Lake Cuyamaca” by Ann

I dye a little and really admire artists who dye their own fabric but I will stick to using paint. I just love it. Some might say it’s a control thing! I’m okay with that!

Rope wrapped dyed by Ann

Rope wrapped dyed

Whole cloth painted

Painted Whole Cloth by Ann

Paint or dye – Do you have a preference?

 

About Ann Scott

Working with fabric and fiber for over forty years. Design, instruction, and sales. Certified teacher online at Curious.com/fiberdesignsbyann.
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2 Responses to Paint or Dye

  1. Joanna says:

    The need for control is a darn good reason to use paint. Outside of the hands of experts, dyeing can go awry. Of course paint can as well, but you get to see your results much faster than with dyeing. Whole cloth painting can lead to wonderful quilts; just look at the work of Judy Coates Perez.

    • Ann Scott says:

      I agree! I like that we may paint fine details and sharp lines (Often the way Judy Coates Perez paints) or paint as if using watercolor, getting a more fluid (and dye like) result.

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