I love creating portraits with fabric but I've always been a bit jealous of painters who finish a piece on canvas, put a wire hanger on the back and call it done!
With fiber art there is always a dilemma on how to finish a piece. Frame, no frame, glass, no glass, etc. For over a decade, I stretched each piece, then had it framed with spacers and uv glass. This process was time consuming, expensive, and puts a distance between the work itself and the viewer. I was at an art show and saw resin for the first time. I immediately started to do research. Unfortunately, I could find little to no information on using it with textiles. So, I hope to share as many details as possible here.
I settled on ArtResin because it's non toxic, they have great videos (I am a visual learner) and I could purchase a starter kit. I did not purchase the artist torch (at first) because I didn't want to invest too much if this whole thing was a bust.
To make my fabric portraits, I create the face on cotton canvas, then sew it onto other fabric pieces made from old clothing, remnants, etc. All of the fabric is dyed and painted with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow paints. The fabric is then ironed onto the background and machine stitched. I sign the piece with hand embroidery. On the below piece, I stretched the fabric onto a wooden box frame.
Here's a list of what worked and what didn't in trial #1:
The fabric sealed nicely with the resin and it was easy to follow the directions
It was fun and fast
It wasn't very messy
There were a lot more bubbles than I thought - like billions...especially near the signature.
The fabric got really dark (they warned me about this but I did not realize how dark)
Despite the bubbles, it looked really cool
Although this looked good, I did not see a way around the bubbles and decided to shelf the idea until I could learn more. The amazing folks at Art Resin asked me to give it another try.
This time I made the hair, bird and background light knowing that I wanted dark brown hair and a darker green in the background. I also stretched onto canvas instead of wood (thinking that might help). I sealed the face with UV spray. Lastly, I purchased the Art Resin torch to help with the bubbles.
The results for the second time were only slightly better. The upper green area and the face had practically no bubbles, the bottom however is once again covered :(. Don't get me wrong...it looks really cool. Notice how the fabric pattern on the neck and arms came out with the resin? That was a fun surprise!
I consulted with the folks at Art Resin and came up with some ideas for the next time.
1. I will seal all the work before the resin - I still need to find the best sealer for this.
2. It seems the amount of resin needs to be increased slightly despite the fact that I used the calculator tool on the Art Resin website.
I will definitely be trying this again. Resin is a great alternative to a frame and glass.
Let me know if you have tried resin on fabric or have any feedback. I would love to hear from you!!