Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I do a lot of discharging and my product of choice is Soft Scrub with Bleach (or, if in Canada, Vim with Bleach). A friend of mine doesn't like bleach products because of the smell/fumes, and her product of choice is Discharge Paste, a product she buys through Dharma Trading Company. For curiosity's sake, I purchased some and have used it with stamps, etc., but never in creating signage or with lettering.  I thought I'd do a comparison project.
I used the same fine tipped bottle for application that I use for the bleach product. (I used a syringe to get it into the bottle.) After I free-motioned my two bottle designs onto my sandwiched fabrics, I carefully applied the discharge paste to the bottle on the right. I let it dry for an hour before I applied a hot, dry iron to it for pulling out the color. The discharge paste obviously ran and bled past the stitch lines, and the result was a bit of a mess. Following this, I applied the Soft Scrub, let it sit on the surface for 10 minutes, then took it to the sink for a gentle washing/brushing of the residual product lying on top of the fabric. The product stayed behind the stitch lines, leaving crisp, precise detail. I would have predicted this outcome, but this little project made the differences even more obvious.

I recently used discharge paste to stamp on a dark, multi-colored parfait fabric. The result was muted and organic, perfect to use as an unfocused background piece with something of detail in the foreground. I used it  in this piece I created for my "Signs of Life" project. I like the little bit of spiral that peeks through, creating the idea of a sun. What's Mexico without the sun!!!?

I want to make a few personal remarks about about using bleach product. I use it sparingly as the brightness or neon-look of the results can be overpowering in a composition. I try to use it in a well-ventilated room, or even better - outside. Most of my discharging projects are completed in under ten minutes, and if I have more than that to do, I might take a break. I have been regularly using this technique for over five years, and believe that with conscious use, it can add so much to the world of fiber art.

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