Friday, November 22, 2013

Dichrophane!

That's what I'm calling the results of a happy accident. Because it's shorter than "Cellophane that's been abused until it looks like dichroic glass." A while ago, probably when I was avoiding some real work,I decided to try something I vaguely remembered from an English embroidery book.(Q: Why are the English so much more innovative and exciting in the field of embroidery? And so far behind us in art quilting?)Anyway, what I thought I remembered was something about coloring and heat-treating cellophane to create a surface for stitchery. So I had a package of iridescent cellophane, because I'm the kind of person who has things like that (Hmmm, I don't know what I'll do with this but it looks interesting) and I had some Pinata alcohol-based inks, which just looove nonporous surfaces, and I brought the two together. And when the ink dried I attacked the cellophane with my heat gun and created this amazing stuff. Here's how,step by step:

1) Acquire some iridescent cellophane.

2)Cut off a chunk of it. Actually, you see two chunks here, because I want to demonstrate different media.

3)Color one side, either side, with whatever works. I used alcohol inks for the blue-green piece and oil pastels for the other. There are probably lots of other possibilities. Experiment!

4) Use a heat gun to create a bubbly, wrinkly surface. Here's what it looks like partway through. If you hold the heat gun too long in one spot you'll get a hole in the cellophane, which is fine if the application you're planning requires holey dichrophane but rather a nuisance otherwise.

Ta-da!You'll get stronger colors on the colored side, more iridescence on the flip side.

So what's so great about this stuff? Well... it doesn't fray. You can cut intricate, detailed shapes out of it without any worry that those spiky bits on the edge are going to dissolve into their component threads. You can fuse it: after ordeal by heat gun, an iron isn't going to bother it. It's flexible. You can needlefelt fibers over it, which I often do to knock back the shine a little; you can machine-sew through it; you can hand embroider it with a big fat embroidery needle and it won't split. And that's just the fiber-arts virtues of it.

Tomorrow I'll post close-ups of the dragon at the top of this post and say more about the fiber-arts techniques involved.

1 comment:

  1. oh my gosh...I have some of this same cellophane or whatever it's called. Seems to me I used it several years ago for some Valentine fiber cards...off to look at your next post! Cool...thanks for sharing your process...I might have to dig out and take to Florida with me to play with!

    ReplyDelete