The salt quilt is now almost finished and I am very pleased with the way it has developed. I'm not really sure how best to describe the effect I was aiming for, a sort of 'crusty with a semi transparent glint', is the best I can come up with, but I would love it if someone better with words could help me with this please!
To achieve this I tried out a few new ideas in an attempt to achieve the look that salt crystals have. These are close up images of a few pieces of fabric I created.
The fabrics all started out as pale hand dyes, using a mixture of turquoise, cobalt blue, midnight blue, charcoal and fuscia Procion MXdyes. The dye solutions were very weak to ensure the colour was not too intense.
After a lot of experimentation I chose to use a very large soft graphite stick to make most of the marks on the fabric - those are the dark grey shapes in the images above. I also monoprinted using white opaque printing ink, but the effect was very subtle and does not show well in the photographs.
I also added some reproduction newspaper articles onto the surface of the fabric using a paper lamination technique with gel medium. It is a great way to add this incredible detail, but makes the fabric very stiff. Fortunately this does matter in this instance so I was happy to accept this issue.
For the bold image of Mahatma Gandhi I printed out the image I had drawn in my sketchbook and tinted it using Derwent Inktense pencils, before laminating the image to the fabric. It worked particularly well and produced a clear image. A second image was made by drawing directly onto a silk screen with thickened dye and later screen printing it onto fabric. This produced a very feint outline of Gandhi's face which was used in another part of the quilt.
To add the impression of glinting salt crystals I cut some Angelina fibres into small squares and sprinkled them over the surface of each of the pieces of fabric before they were finally covered with crystal organza. This softened the marks on the fabrics somewhat and gave the quilt a look like very much.
This is how the quilt top looked once it was pieced. The small Angelina squares really do catch the light - although the camera flash has enhanced this somewhat - thankfully they don't look quite that obvious in natural light.
Once quilted I added the alchemists salt symbol, as I have with all the quilts in this series. The material to use for this needed some consideration and after several trials I decided use coloured newspaper to tie in with the newspaper clippings already on the quilt.
The only thing left for me to compete on this quilt is to now decide if I want to add any hand stitch. I an considering whether to add another salt crystal layer to the surface with thread and organza and am in the process of making a few samples to help me decide.
I hope you have enjoyed following the progress of this quilt - it has definitely given me lots of scope to further explore some different techniques and ideas.
Thanks for reading.