Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Aurora Borealis


I did not have the easiest time with these colors!  In fact, I was downright paralyzed for much of the challenge period as I continued to ponder ideas look at images to see where the colors might lead me.  Finally, I happened upon a photo of the Aurora Borealis, something I've always wanted to see ... and that's what led me to this piece.

What fixed the Aurora Borealis as the image in my mind was the fact that I had bought some small jars of Decolourant Discharge dye at PIQF a few months ago, and I started to think about how cool this could be to use the discharge and dye paint to create the wisps of color in a dark sky.

So out they came, and I had a fun afternoon experimenting with the DeColourant dyes.  I wish now that I'd been patient enough to take pictures of all my sampling -- but one reason it didn't occur to me to do that, I guess, is that for some reason the colors were not as vibrant as I expected.  I experimented with several black fabrics and they all reacted the same.  So the plain look of the discharged and painted fabric was interesting but had far too little contrast and vibrance.

Instead, I decided to use it as a base for thread painting.... and then away I went! (Remember, I gave you a peek of some of the threads I was using?)


The ultimate result is not exactly what I pictured, and to be honest I'm not wild about this piece.  It was much more about process for me than the result.  But I am content with it.  Here's a detail shot:



Nikki, thank you for providing such a fun and challenging set of challenge colors!

16 comments:

Deborah Boschert said...

Very very interesting. I really like it. So does the decolourant remove color from the original fabric and add the color of the dye at the same time? I love the silhouette in the foreground. It really sets off the colors and the stitching.

I saw the Northern Lights one time when we lived in Maine. I was in the parking lot outside of Joann's Fabrics and noticed an interesting cloud formation. I didn't think too much of it as I was distracted trying to get Claire and Benjamin buckled into the car. The next morning the "northern lights" were on the front page of the local paper. Apparently they are rarely seen that far south. So, I saw them, but I wish I had appreciated them more.

Diane said...

That's what the DeColourant does -- it discharges the original dye (and there is a "Plain" bottle that is just the discharge paste), and then there are other colors that add color after the discharging action. You can paint or stamp it on, then the discharge and color replacement action happens when you apply a hot iron. (It smelled to me like someone getting a perm.) You can also mix the colors like paint.

Kristin L said...

I too have started playing with the deColorant and it is a very interesting, though fickle, product. I think your use of it here is very appropriate and does a good job of conveying the Northern Lights. The rayon threads add a nice glow.

Joanna Stein said...

I really like this! It is beautiful.

Nikki said...

I love how the piece glows. The sheen of the rayon threads against the dark background captures what I think of as the northern lights.

I would love to see samples of the deColourant dyes. How are they different from just adding paint on top the fabric? Is one of the advantages that the hand of the fabric stays the same?

Terri Stegmiller said...

It's a very beautiful aurora borealis Diane! I will admit that when I first looked at it I didn't pick up on the black area and the shapes that are represented...my brain was too busy taking in all the gorgeous colors. But it did hit me after a little bit.

Lisa Flowers Ross said...

I think it is really nice.

Brenda Gael Smith said...

Diane, your piece has hints of Van Gogh's Starry Nights and is much more successfully executed than my eggplant irises. The scale and composition conveys the wonder of the night sky.

BTW: I first learned about discharge decolorants a month or so ago from my friend Lisa Walton. I don't think they worked as she expected they might either. It's great that our project gives us a focus for trying out new things.

Terry said...

Diane, I have a memory of seeing the Aurora Borealis as a child. My Mom and Dad woke me and my sister in the middle of the night and took us all out onto the front lawn in our pajamas. The houses in the neighborhood were dark and my memory looks EXACTLY like your piece. It is a rather magical memory and a very rare occurrence of their being visible as far south as Idaho. The only time I have ever seen them. So, for me, your piece is totally successful!

Karen said...

I think you are very successful with this Diane, the colors are beautiful and the dark house and trees are so subtle, I think it looks just like I would expect an Aurora Borealis to look like

Gerrie said...

I have had a problem with the intensity of color when I used this product. The thread painting was a great solution. I love the silhouetted landscape.

Diane said...

Gerrie, did you find the colors as NOT as intense as you wanted, or too intense? I seem to remember that when I watched the demo at PIQF, the colors looked very rich and vibrant. On my various samples of black cloth, the colors looked pretty dull. I also found that if I mixed the colors on a palette and then painted, the color was better than if I tried to mix by painting one on top of another. So the product has promise, I think, but it'd take some experimenting. And now I would know to expect more muted results.

Gerrie said...

I found that they washed out to a very dull and lifeless color. I have been very disappointed and let them know. The metallic colors do much better.

Delia (Del) said...

I love you piece and it portrays the lights beautiful.
Delia

mif the mad said...

really love this working. This kind of works barely looks like art to me, but this did

Françoise said...

Nice piece Diane.
It sounds like an interesting product. The red orange on the right side looks much brighter that the other colours. Did you do anything different there?