Saturday, September 3, 2011

MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS):
Technique Based Article In Quilting Arts Magazine

Author: Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Over the last decade and more, I have been experimenting with hand printing techniques using disperse dyes on synthetic/polyester fabrics. These experiments have led to one of my new signature techniques that I have developed which I termed - MultiSperse Dye Sublimation (MSDS). I have been teaching my MSDS technique at international and national conferences/workshops, textile forums, to textile groups and within university courses.

Sublimation Printing
There are four distinct processes by which transfer printing can be achieved: melt-transfer; film-release transfer; semi-wet processes; sublimation printing.

What is commonly termed "transfer printing" in reality should be termed sublimation printing. Sublimation describes a process that goes from a solid state to a gas state without passing though a liquid state. Dry ice has this property.

In sublimation printing once the dye has been painted on a paper and is dry, the painted side of the paper is placed on top of the fabric surface that is to be dyed. Then heat is applied via an iron or a heat press (under pressure) to the back of the dry dyed paper. The dye vaporizes from the paper and infuses into the surface of the target fabric. The vapor dye reacts with the target fabric surface and adheres to it via dispersion forces (van der Waals forces) and hydrogen bonding. The heat of the iron serves a dual purpose: (a) it vaporizes the dye; (b) it assists the dye to infuse into the fabric surface and adhere to it.

We need to examine (a) and (b) more closely in order to appreciate the importance of the amount of heat applied (under pressure) in the disperse dye process. With respect to (a), the more heat that is applied, the more dye is vaporized, and so the more dye is available for uptake and adhesion to the fabric. With respect to (b), the more heat that is applied (under pressure) the more vigorously the surface fiber molecules vibrate, the more passages become available for the vaporized dye to venture into the voids of the amorphous region of the fiber, the greater the promotion of dye uptake and adhesion to the fabric.  That is why the amount of heat applied (under pressure) by the iron or heat press is so important since it determines the amount of dye that sublimates, the amount of dye the fabric uptakes and adheres to. Parts (a) and (b) work hand-in-hand to achieve that end. Not enough applied heat (under pressure) results in a very pale dyed fabric. However, there is a trade-off. The more heat you apply (under pressure) the greater the possibility of damaging the fabric and the transfer paper. You need to walk this tight rope for each fabric and paper you choose.

The adhesion that the dye forms with the fabric surface is why the fabric automatically becomes color fast, wash fast, light fast and moreover, why it cannot change the hand of the fabric. Furthermore, it is a surface technique and so the reverse side of the fabric is unaltered. Also, image creating objects such as stencils, resist items etc. can be inserted between the paper and fabric surface ready for transfer as well as painted images that were resident on the surface of the original paper can be transferred directly onto the fabric surface.

The MSDS Technique
The MSDS technique employs disperse dyes and involves hand printing multiple resists and multiple overprinted layers employing numerous color plates and low relief plant materials. The completed works are rich in color, light, shade, contrast, movement and depth. The multiple layers also imbue a painterly aesthetic and textural, three-dimensional quality to the finished ArtCloth works. Each print is unique and cannot be replicated.

My MSDS technique has been published in the August/September 2011 issue, No. 52. of Quilting Arts magazine. If you would like to have a reference copy, which shows images and text of the technique as applied to a melding of landscapes, you can subscribe to Quilting Arts magazine (please see the following URL for more information) - Quilting Arts

The magazine is also available from bookstores and newsagents in the USA, Canada and elsewhere. In Australia it is available from specialist outlets like The Thread Studio and Unique Stitching etc. – check your preferred search engines for other suppliers. The issue also includes other surface design techniques and feature articles.

The article "Introduction" (on page 32) shows in the background some of the MSDS ArtCloth works.

To whet your appetite, figure 5 on page 34 shows one of the initial steps in the creation of MSDS ArtCloth.

To keep the enthusiasm forging ahead, figure 6 on page 34 shows the next step in the process.

These steps eventually lead you to create a MSDS printed ArtCloth work (in this case on satin).
Note the complexity of the work, the painterly quality, and the three dimensional aspect of the finished ArtCloth.

See this blog site for more examples of disperse dye ArtCloth works employing my MSDS technique.

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