Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Burned For a Purpose

This saga began almost a year and a half ago.  We were visiting NE Minneapolis art district for the annual Art-A-Whirl.  Some amazing art caught our eye.  Very ethereal....haunting almost.  Imprints of leaves mostly.  Breath-taking.  We asked the artist how she achieved this beautiful effect.  The answer....gun powder.  What????  Yep...gun powder. The prints she produced stayed with us all day.  As textile artists....and risk-takers in general....our natural inclination was...."I wonder what would happen if we did it on textiles?"  We didn't get to it that summer....but this summer we HAD to try it out.  We gathered our supplies.  Bought the gunpowder (I'm always amused by people's reaction.  These two women asking the clerk where to find gun powder. "What kind do you need?"  ummmmmm we don't know.  We are artist and are using it in our art.  "Ahhhhh"  - like that explains everything!!  Too funny!)  So anyway, after we found out that we for sure didn't want the kind that exploded....just burned, we were on our way.

We got one or two good pieces out of it....well, my friend did anyway.  We worked with the was a windy day....enough said.

I've been so wanting to try it out myself and just waiting for a project that could benefit from this technique.  Then I had it. The 10 X 20 group - I still have 2 pieces to complete for this year.  One was due Oct. 1 so yes....I'm a bit behind.  The difficulty wasn't the gun powder bit....but finding an appropriate background.  Finally I found a piece of what felt like a twill.  Liked the subtle dyeing that had already been done to it. Only one problem....didn't think about what the fabric make-up was.  I mean I hardly have any textiles in my studio that aren't cotton or silk or linen.  So I go merrily on my way to experiment.  POOF!  The gun powder went off and the cardboard on top was burning a bit around the edges still....not uncommon.  I picked the cover up and the fabric itself was burning and melting.  Can you say synthetic fibers???? Put it out right away so no horrible damage was done. they learn something new every day. 

Still...I got the results that worked for this particular project. There will be additonal experiments - on cotton - but I'm happy with the results for this time.  Below are photos of the process along the way and the final results, of course.

Screen printed clocks in Latte acrylic and ironed on the masks of freezer paper

Taped the fabric to the board and applied the gun powder

Set the gun powder on fire (and the fabric as it turned out)

Resulting fabric with masks removed (you can see the burned edges)

Another layer of screen printed clocks, this time in Lumiere Old Brass - and a few stamped clocks as well

Now to do the stitching.....and probably adding a few watch parts as well.  Hope to have it done by Monday if not before.



Wil Opio Oguta said...

In spite of the burning, you got great fabric!

Kelly said...

Yep... and the burning just added a bit of excitement to the process!!