I received a nice email today from Michele in Ontario who had a number of questions about my process so I thought I would share my response to her...
"The process I use for silk screening is to make the screen with a thermal imager. This is normally called a thermafax screen. I have my own machine, which cost me about $500 a number of years ago. I love it and it has made all the difference in the world for me.
There are a number of services by different quilters who will produce the screen for you at much less than $500! If you ask about who makes the screens on the Quilt Art list, you will get a large response. Also, sometimes there is advertising in the back of the art quilt magazines.
In this case, I used Golden Acrylic open paints. I usually use either textile paint or other acrylics but Golden has come out with a new acrylic that does not dry very fast so I can use it much better with my screens without worrying about it drying and clogging the screen which would make it unuseable. The paint, unlike dye, does sit on top of the fabric. However, since I am making art quilts I am not too worried about the "hand" of the fabric. I even use paint rather heavily sometimes which I feel just adds more texture.
Sometimes I will screen on to fabric that is still damp from painting. When I do this, the paint thins a little and the image is not as crisp but it also goes into the weave of the fabric better.
If you really want to keep the hand of the fabric, then the best way to do this is to use thickened dyes which dye the fabric, by bonding molecules into the fiber itself rather than laying paint down on it. Jane Dunnewold is a great person to learn about this from...she has several books out but you would probably get more from taking one of her classes. She also creates a lot of screens the standard way, with photo emulsion, freezer paper (for temporary ones) and many other methods. She has a book about called Complex Cloth which you might be interested in.
I also stamp fabric, again using textile fabric paint or Golden open acrylics! But again, the paint lays down on the fabric.
When I paint my fabric I am very loosey-goosey about it! Not a lot of planning but lots of fun!"
Judy had a question about what I meant when I said I was ordering mat board and backing board.
The pieces I have shown the past couple of days do not technically qualify as quilts. They have no batting. The painted fabrics has been fused on to canvas and then stitched. They are very flat. For Collage Mania, I have them mounted between a double cut mat board (actually two mats with one just slightly smaller in the opening than the other) and the are mounted on the the bottom mat with linen hinging tape. The tape is archival and holds the piece of art hanging loosely within the opening of the mat board. The edges of the art are behind the cut out window in the mat.
Backing board is just that...an archival 1/8" foam core board cut to size of the mat. Line up the art work, use the linen hinging tape to mount it, leave it free on the bottom, place the mat board with the window cut out over it and then the entire thing is ready for framing. I get frames from a couple of places. I order metal frames from the American Frame Company that has a shadow box type frame which allows you to have space between the art work and the glass or plexiglass. I use plexiglass for work that is being shipped to my gallery. People know how to respond to work that is framed and ready to hang.
I also get frames from Aaron Brothers only when they are on sale at 50% off and then I stock up. They come with glass but frequently, even though I may mount and frame a piece, I don't always use the glass. These frames are wood and I get them in black or brown and are generally gallery style frames...meaning very simple.
I also sometimes stretch cotton duck (black) over stretcher bars that I get in huge amounts from Dick Blick. You can order on line. For 4 x 6 work I mount it on 8 x 10 stretched canvas and then larger pieces are on larget canvases. I have also purchased pre-stretched unprimed canvas from French Canvas (also available on line) but lately they have not had the smaller sizes. I stitch my work to the canvas. I also buy primed stretched canvas from Dick Blick, again when it is on sale, paint it and then mount the work by stitching it on to the painted canvas.
Larger pieces are hung with a rod through a normal sleeve in the back.
I like the way smaller art pieces are presented when either in a frame or mounted on stretched canvas. It just gives them more oomph...
So, back to doing the laundry!