Monoprinting Fabrics for Textured Backgrounds

To shake things up a little, today’s newsletter focuses on the monoprinting techniques you see here in Prom Dress II by Fawn Mackey. Fawn is featured in Quilting Arts (February/March 2008subscribe here), where she gives a step-by-step on how to create a textured background.

Happy creating,

Prom Dress II (Muslin, commercial fabric, studs, thread, charcoal, cotton batting, monoprinting, etching transfer, quilting, 9×11) by Fawn Mackey

Monoprinting Fabrics for Textured Backgrounds by Fawn Mackey

Since I first dipped my toe in the creative pool I have been studying and learning, both in formal and informal ways. My formal educational background is in painting, drawing, and printmaking. Then, fascinated with fabric, I started experimenting with line and texture through commercial fabric and thread. But it took several years for me to meld painting and fiber. My new work straddles the line between painting and quilting, and incorporates printmaking and drawing.

My inspiration comes from the exploration of a thought, idea, or feeling, and for my quilts, I strive for a visually rich surface. I use a variety of techniques to create my fabric lithograph: etching transfers, monoprinting, paint, pencil, charcoal, wax medium, oil stick, stitching, fabric, and anything else that catches my fancy. No rules on size or surface. My background fabric is improvisational, and I like to start with monoprinting. It gives me a rich, painterly surface to work with. It is something that you can experiment with at home; the cost is low and it is easy to do.

Monoprinting gives a somewhat uncontrolled surface with a loose design. The lost edges are beautiful and there are surprises that appear when you pull off the print. I do several pulls of the fabric, and allow the fabric to dry completely between the pulls, or layers, of a new print. It’s important to clean all of your tools and start new on each pull. A base fabric will have three to four pulls on it. I then add a variety of images or lines and marks with pencil, pen, paint, charcoal, or markers. I seal the whole thing with a thin wash of textile medium and acrylic medium. When dry, the print can be cut up and handled like any other fabric. It tends to be a bit stiff, so simple shapes are best.

If you are aiming for thinner lines, try applying the paint to your plate (a large piece of glass or acrylic) with an applicator tip. I use a hair color applicator, available from any beauty supply store. ~Fawn Mackey (Continue reading in Quilting Arts, February/March 2008)

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