Thursday, July 14, 2011

Creating silk paper and other fibre films Method 2 – Glue Method Part 1

Creating silk paper and other fibre films   
Method 2 - Glue method
This is actually a group of methods which are closely related because they all use a glue or bonding agent to bind the fibres together.  It is very commonly used, particularly because of the availability of silk rovings, bereft of their sericin, and the advent of a wide range of textile media, acrylic gloss media and other bonding agents.  It has also expanded the range of fibres which can be used to almost limitless possibilities.   This method, with many variations is covered in the following references;
1, 2, 3, 4, to 14.  (Click on the "References I use" page at top right of blog)

Today's sample is going to be made from hand dyed mulberry silk tops.
First, I have put down the bottom layer of tulle for this sample.  Newspaper is not neccessary for this method and you will see that I get rid of it in a few pictures.
My first layer of silk tops.  As you can see, itis much easier to align the fibres with tops, rather than some of the other fibres which have not been processed.
Here is the next layer, in the opposite direction.  You can add things either between two layers, or at this stage and then add more tops.  It all depends on how thick you want your silk paper to be.
Here I am laying down the top piece of tulle.
In this variation of the method, you need to moisten the layers.  I used a few drops of detergent in water and a brush and wet both sides of the silk paper, turning it over to do so.
Blot dry with paper towel or something else absorbent.  Remove as much water as you can.
Here are the two mediums I happen to have on hand.  I used Jo Sonja's Textile medium for this sample.  You can also use watered down PVA at a pinch and many references for this method use cellulose paste or wallpaper paste.  I put a little medium into a small container, undiluted and mixed with a paint brush.
Above, applying undiluted medium to both sides of the silk paper.
Place on an applique sheet and dry. After drying, remove the tulle.  You can remove it easier before drying, but this may disturb the fibres, while removing the tulle after drying must be done with care, since the undiluted medium will stick.  Even though the piece looks very open and fragile, you will find that it is actually quite strong.  The only difficulty is peeling off the wispy bits, and I will talk about that in my next blog.
The picture above is a high resolution of the finished paper.
Although I am happy with the silk paper, and like the openness of this piece particularly, I find the weave structure to be a bit overpowering.  I think this is because of the colour differences between the two opposite layers. 
I was struck with how much like water this sample appeared here, but when the medium dried the colours became more intense and the structure more open. However, I can see that if  I made one side thicker than the other, or used some undyed tops on the "back" so that you were not looking through the paper at an open structure, it might help.
Of course, I will find a way around this in future blogs, so stay tuned.  I am not sure how many parts we will have on this method, because I have so many ideas to show you!