Sunday, 23 December 2012

Extraordinary Prints from Ordinary Objects - D

D is for Discharge!

I stencilled this fabric. (Not all fabrics discharge to white). 

Discharging Is the fancy name for removing colour form dyed fabrics. 
The regular household chlorine bleach works well on all cellulose fibres
(cotton, linen, rayon, bamboo etc), but will cause discolouring and deterioration 
in most other natural fabrics. Not all dyed fabrics are in fact dischargeable - 
it all depends on what kind of dyes have been used to dye the fabric originally. 
If you dye your own fabrics, any fibre reactive dyes will discharge beautifully. 

The variety of techniques you can use for discharging are almost endless. 
In fact a lot of the tools that you use for adding colour to cloth can also be used 
to remove colour!

Once the dark fabric has been discharged, you need to rinse and neutralize the 
bleach - in order to stop the bleach from eating holes into your fabric. 
The same goes for any tools you use - bleach is notorious for consuming brushes 
unless they have synthetic bristles.

On this fabric I used a brush to discharge the black.

Pole wrapped and discharged to a lovely rich brown.

I screen printed the discharge paste onto silk noile
using Rongalite (which works on silk) instead of bleach.
Colour Vie pigments do not discharge, but can be added
afterward for layering and added surface details.

For the black silk crepe de chine scarf I added
colour Vie pure pigment to the Rongalite
discharge paste, so that colour was added at the
same time as the black silk was discharged.
Dorothy Caldwell uses bleach discharge in her fabric pieces.
Detail showing Dorothy's stitching and patching.


  1. Makes me want to play!
    Looking forward to your teaching schedule in the New Year....