We first dyed silk scarves using the "color by accident" method. This involved mixing our immersion dyes, shoving a wet scarf in a cut off water bottle in whatever twisty way we wanted (mine was a tight coil) then pouring the dyes into the bottle. This normally produces a mottled effect, but since I did mine so tight I got more of a tie-dyed look. After the dyes sit for 15 minutes in the bottle they are poured out and soda ash is added to stop the dyes from "crawling" and to make them permanent. This is left for an hour or more, then poured out. The scarf is rinsed and hung to dry. The dyes are now color and light fast.
After dying we started the silk screening process. We each made our own silk screen using light activated PhotoEZ sheets. These sheets are essentially silk impregnated with emulsion chemicals that when exposed to sunlight print whatever image is blocking the light onto the sheet, which image is later washed away leaving only the silk. Fine lines and detail are shied away from, but pretty nice detail can be achieved. This paper is also available in 'high def'.
Once a picture is decided on (which is smaller than the screening frame) you place it in a certain order and direction between the PhotoEZ sheet, plexi glass and a piece of miter board and felt. This is covered in something light safe until you are in direct sunlight, when you take it out and point it directly at the sun for 5 minutes, recover and take it inside. You then put it in a tub of water for 10 minutes, rinse it on a piece of plastic canvas to remove the emulsion from the image and...
And then you have a wonderful silk screen. This is then taped w/ water repellent, special tape (I have the names for everything if you really want them) into the screen frame in a certain order and direction and you have your silk screen ready to print!
After we'd mixed highly concentrated pigments into a silk screening base of either translucent or opaque we began printing!! Basically you stretch out whatever you're printing onto on a table covered in batting and muslin. You blob paint at the top of the screen, hold the frame w/ one hand and kind of squeegee the ink lightly over the screen to flood it with ink. Then you do that once or twice more with more pressure in the same direction to set the ink, take the frame and screen off and wah la...
You get a print. I did my paisleys in chartreuse w/ opaque base so they'll sit on top of the fabric, and not let the fabric's color come through. The tshirt was provided by Jeff. I didn't dye it :(.
After printing we learned about foiling which involves using a special "glue" ink that will bond w/ foil in a heat clamp. This can be used in your silk screen, but I chose to hand paint it onto only some parts of my paisley.
After a print is made, but before you foil it it needs to be set in a very hot dyer for about and hour. You then place it on the heat clamp (I don't have a picture, sorry) w/ the foil on top and clamp it at at least 250 degrees for 45 seconds. Take it off/out and let cool, then peal the foil off! And there you go! The shirt can them be washed (inside out w/ foil) and fabric softened.
Jeff showing us some hand painting techniques on silk. We use the same immersion dyes we used earlier, only now we can choose to thicken them w/ a special globby stuff, and we need to activate them (like the soda ash did) before we use them to paint.
Groups of 5 worked on a piece together. This will then be separated so we can each have a scarf from it. Once it's done we roll it into newsprint, then into a cinnamon roll type configuration and steam it over a pot of boiling water for 15 minutes. Then it's washed and dried and is done!