Recently I was asked about how (and why) I use technology in my textile practice. As some of you may or may not know, I hand dye silk myself in a very traditional way. I have to boil the hell out of yards and yards of silk, making sure I get all of the pre-existing chemicals out of it that are added after production. Chemicals are added to make sure that mice and rats don't chew holes in it as it is being transported. They are also added to make the fabric less flammable.
After I have "scoured" the fabric, I stretch the silk tightly over a frame that was hand made by a dear family friend. To "stretch" the fabric over the frame I essentially sew the fabric onto it by sticking tacks in the wooden frame every six inches or so. Then I loop the thread in between the little pegs and the silk. After the fabric is taught and smooth I move onto the actual drawing and painting on the silk with various dyes and resists.
After the silk is dry I cut it off of the frame, steam it by hand, rinse it, and then wash and iron it. After all of that the fabric is finally finished. Certain pieces of silk can takes days or even weeks to finish! It is a very time consuming and methodical process. After the fabric is finally finished I do some sketches on paper and take pictures of the fabric to give to a local graphic designer. She then digitizes my prints/patterns and I send the digital files off to a manufacturer who digitally prints the designs onto fabric. (Such as my KINDNESS boxers.)
I use technology because it is just so much faster (and cleaner) than doing everything by hand. Mixing dyes and chemicals all the time is messy, time consuming, and bad for my health. Being able to turn my prints into a digital format also means that I can put my designs onto more than just fabric. Currently I have not yet explored many other surfaces other than silk or other fabrics, but I am looking to expand my product line in the future and look forward to being able to put my prints and designs onto other products as well.
If you could see my designs on other products, what would you like to see them on?! Comment below:)