Dyeing to Discharge: Day 5

Well, actually this post is more like post-day 5. I'm home in College Park and exhausted. I can't figure out what I did to be so pooped except that I must have worked harder this week than I thought.

Yesterday was mostly finishing up any work in progress, washing out, cleaning up, and doing the end of class discussion. I'm still doing wash at home and will press, photograph, and share some samples over the next day or so. I'm pleased with several of the things I brought home.
My takeaways from this week include the following:
  • First and foremost: I've been ignoring a really valuable design tool--discharge--because I was squeamish about the safety, mess, etc. After a week of working with this stuff and never feeling any ill effects I feel well prepared to do more discharge work, and to do it in a way that's safe.
  • Tied for first: This stuff is great, but anyone using any form of bleach or reducing agent needs to wear a respirator when using it and work outside. [That goes for using Tilex in the bathroom too. Close the door, open the window, turn on the fan, wear an acid/gas respirator, leave the room when you're done, and don't come back until the smell is gone. Don't laugh. I'm totally serious. I've made myself sick in the past from chlorine and I will never do it again.]
  • I'm going to try a few more experiments with MX primary combinations and work on developing a vocabulary of discharge colors, effects, and marks that speaks to me. In a lot of ways workshops like this one are like going to a wine tasting. You taste some things you like and some you don't, and after a while your palette needs a rest to recover from the over-stimulation.
  • MX acid process for silk! I've got to do more of this. I've got all of the supplies; I just need to fine tune my technique. [Of course Carol teaches a 5-day action packed class just on silk, but I can't think about that now. Too tired.]
  • I want to work on black and white textures through discharge. Is it really possible that there's a pleasing combination of MX primaries out there that discharges to white? It doesn't seem that way, but...
  • I'm going to experiment with potato dextrin as a resist and see if I can use it in a way that works for me. I'm not really interested in slathering yardage and waiting for it to crackle, but the stuff washes out so much easier than some other resists that it's worth playing with.
  • Finally, I bought some monagum [the giant PRO Chem order should arrive on Wed] and I'm going to make my own thickened bleach discharge paste from now on. No more dishwasher gel.

Bottom line: I learned some new things and a lot of good safety tips. I definitely recommend this workshop for anyone interested in working with discharge techniques. Yes, you can figure this stuff out on your own, but this is a great way to jumpstart the process and get a good and SAFE start.