Thursday, January 21, 2010

January's Tart Lesson: Gelatin Plate Printing and Reverse Applique

This month we are giving you the materials and instructions for two lessons: gelatin plate printing and reverse applique. The sample above was completed by Susan and Sue Anne. Sue Anne made the fabric print and Susan reverse hand-appliqued the black top and finished the little quilt. The painted design in the print shows through in an interesting way.

Dissolve the gelatin in water in a pan on top of the stove. Pour it into a bowl or plate where it will cool in the refrigerator. When cool, unmold it unto your work surface and get ready to print.

With the textile paints, squeeze out a design directly onto the gelatin. Lay the PFD fabric over the paint and press lightly from the center out. Carefully lift the fabric from the gelatin and allow to dry completely. You may want to cut your fabric in smaller, workable pieces. You may print successive prints but each will be lighter as you remove some paint from the gelatin each time you print. More paint can be added as necessary. However, no two prints will be exactly the same.

When the print has dried completely, heat set the paint with your protected iron. You can add more paint to the surface without affecting the original print. Below, I painted a wash of textile paint mixed with water over the first print to color the white background.

The gelatin plate can be used over and over. Wash the surface carefully with a wet sponge or paper towel.

Experiment with various designs and textures. The softness of the gelatin plate will allow you to get some depth in your prints. Use different tools to remove paint or lay a resist over the plate before adding paint. Here, I used a paint brush to make random circles, followed with "drips" directly from the paint bottle.

Here's the orginal print, followed by the same print with a blue wash over the background.

Below is an example of giving my print some texture. I used a large-tooth comb to make a narrow grid. It is followed by my first printing, then my second printing. Notice how much paint was removed with the first print.

When you are done printing, clean the gelatin plate and save in the refrigerator. It should keep for quite awhile. NEVER, put the gelatin plate down the drain. Throw it away when you are through with it.
Reverse applique is a technique where instead of sewing a motif to the top of a background, you are cutting away the top layer to reveal another fabric beneath. In this lesson, we have given you black cotton for the layer you cut away and you will use your printed fabric for the layer beneath. Reverse applique can be done either by hand or by fusing. We recommend fusing if you are new to this technique or if your design has very small cut-outs.
Draw your design onto the non-shiny surface of freezer paper. Remind yourself about the areas that will be cut out by marking the area with an X.
Cut out along the drawn lines and discard the inner shape and keep the larger piece.

Iron a piece of fusible web to the wrong side of the black fabric. Leave the paper on for the time being. Iron the freezer paper pattern to the front side of the black fabric.

Use the chalk to mark the edges of your cutout. For large areas, the chalk just needs to run along the edge. Remember, you will be discarding the inside shape.

Carefully, remove the freezer paper from the front and the fusible web paper from the back.

With sharp scissors, cut out the design along the chalked edge. If you were reverse appliqueing by hand, you would leave a small seam allowance. Once you have removed the black fabric from inside your chalk lines, press it to your printed fabric.

You are now ready to layer the piece with batting and a backing and machine quilted around the design edges. You can either use a straight stitch or satin stitch or buttonhole stitch. You might even use embroidery floss to add a textured edge. Complete a whole cloth quilt or incorporated this technique into a larger design. Doesn't it remind you of grade school where we colored a background sheet of paper and then painted it with black paint and scratched away a design. Have fun!