Sunday, May 19, 2024

Untitled, Part 3

Untitled, Part 3

After completing the application of the wax, it is time for removing most of the dye.  I worked outside on my driveway to disperse the fumes.  It also helps to work in the sun because the sun helps with the bleach discharge process.  Unfortunately my driveway had a good amount of shade, so I kept having to move my work space as the sun moved across the sky. (Note: I lost some of those trees, and now I very much miss the shade they provided!)

I added one piece of waxed fabric at a time, into a big rectangular storage box which had the bleaching agent already in it.  I used about 2 gallons of water mixed with 1 cup of bleach.  While it is reasonably dilute bleach, it is not anything you want to soak your hands in.  I used gloves and tongs to move the fabric around and then watched the colors lighten up! As it got closer to the bleaching out the color, I would remove it and place it on the concrete, and then add another piece of batiked fabric.  I used water from a hose to rinse the fabric, trying to keep the runoff on the concrete so that it wouldn't harm my plants or lawn. If it didn't look light enough after drying, I would repeat the process.

This process involves a lot of sitting and waiting, and also tending to the fabric at just the right time. Unfortunately, we were having a record setting heat wave while I was doing this, so the work was pretty brutal. I had outdoor fans and ice water, and I waited in the shade while my work was in the sun.  When I would feel the effects of the heat, I would halt the process and go inside to the air conditioning and lie down on the cool tile floor. It took a lot more time working this way than I would have liked, but it needed to be done.  I still can't believe that I don't have any photos of all of this.  I was concentrating so hard on getting the work done, that I forgot to document it.  Sorry about that!

The results:
The darker parts, the squares and circle motifs, have wax on them here; thus protecting the beautiful and intense colors safely under the wax. 

I gradually transitioned each piece from the concrete, where it kept trying to blow away, to my zipline in the backyard. I would give it a second thorough rinse and then let it dry outside for at least a day or two. Then I would start again.  Remember, I had 22 of these to do.  This set is almost halfway there. 

Some colors bleached better than others.  I also did not want the wax to crack, so I tried to minimize the folding and crinkling of the fabric while it had wax on it. Some of the colors were so resistant to bleaching, and had to be processed multiply times, and have the cracks to show for it!


The inability to remove more of the orange and golden colors will affect the next step, the overdyeing.  However, it is part of the charm of having a slightly blended color with the next layer.  It makes the original clear and bright colors pop a little bit more. So, it's all good!

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