Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fiber Junkies - Working with Bleach

Our wonderful Fiber Junkies group met this past week at Gen's home for a day of experimenting and fun. Our good friend and FJ member Denny, gave us a huge supply of powdered bleach; we were anxious to play with this and other bleaching products. 
 This bleach is finely granulated making it easy to pour or sprinkle on a surface.
 First, we wet the fabric with a mister, and laid some resist type object on top. In the above, the leaf was cut out of a sticky back piece of foam and laid down first. The bleach was sprinkled onto the surface.
 This is some plastic webbing that Denny found at a construction site; we've used it often in our deconstructive screening play days. I thought it would work well, but the bleach migrated beyond the boundaries of the web and turned into a mish-mosh.
 We tried using stencils and carefully placing the bleach granules inside the negative space.
 These were successful.
 This was a tree stencil using granules of bleach. Kate had success with it; I didn't but I think next time I would spray the back of the stencil with a temporary adhesive so it makes a tight contact with the fabric. I would do this before I misted the fabric with water.
 Here is a fabric done with a stencil and left to dry....anxious to see how it works when washed.

 We also used a bleach pen to write on fabric. If you use a fresh pen, the bleach will start lightening as you watch!
 Mary tried the bleach pen through a plastic "lace holder" - worked well.
 This was my favorite and an effective way to use stencils for this technique. A drawback in using stencils is that they don't grip the fabric real tight and the bleach can seap underneath making the design lines very blurry. Kate suggested we use a blank silk screen on top of the stencil on top of the fabric and using a squeegee, run a thickened bleach over the screen. I used discharge paste which was thickened with sodium alginate - great results!
 Here is a piece that Val did using stencils and a blank screen, using hand dyes are a bonus as the different colors discharge differently making the image so interesting.
 Here is a piece that I did and my favorite piece of the day. I used the stencils with the silkscreen as well as a burned screen with thickened discharge paste. I'm happy with the results.
 This was a great stencil and happy to find a new way to use it.
 One of Vals screens which she made out of leaves she found outside...
 and a detail.
 Another one of Vals pieces using a hand dyed fabric.
 And Marys shown earlier using a plastic grid - love the results.
Here's my piece using the big tree stencil and powdered bleach. Kate had great success as you can see, mine is nothing resembling a tree - just another mish mosh......oh well....It was a great day with some wonderful and not so wonderful results but all was great fun. I wouldn't expect anything less from this great group of gals.


  1. What great results! Have to share this with our art group back home and in Florida! Thanks!!

  2. What fun! I wish I had a fiber art group to play with. Love the ones with leaves

  3. What a fun time and interesting technique. I've never used bleach, but the results are amazing!

  4. You produced some yummy results!

  5. Great post, and a technique I haven't tried here. You got some great results, and looked like it was fun testing out many different techniques. On top of that, you got to spend time among other fiber junkies it seems, and that's always a big plus for me!

  6. What a fun day! I've never heard of bleach granules. Did you buy them at a grocery store? Thanks for sharing your results. I love bleach discharge, but you have broadened my horizon.

    1. Our friend from Fiber Junkies - Denny... bought a case as she wanted to try it and couldn't get a lesser amount....don't know where she got it...but I think it's the kind of bleach they sell in vending machines in laundromats...never seen it in a supermarket.