Sunday, 22 February 2015

Screen Printing Fabrics

My costume design Final Major Project is in full swing at the moment. Although I have been researching and developing my ideas since last summer, only now are we starting to make costumes and bring our work to life. It's a lot of work, but fun and exciting, which makes it all worth it!

My project is inspired by the London Foundling Hospital, and the textile tokens that mother's gave with their babies as an identifier and symbol of their love and hopes for a child that they probably would never see again. These small pieces of old and worn textiles embody so many emotions and are really really touching.

I will do a post about these tokens soon - in the meantime I would like to share some of my textile work on my project so far. I have been creating my own printed fabrics inspired by the tokens I have found in the Foundling Hospital archives.

I began by drawing out my bodice design with colours and rough print ideas. The theme for this bodice is flowers and blossom, as the character is a young girl who has just come to London from the countryside - she is childish, naive and girly. Using my research images, I experimented with scale on a toile of my bodice. From that, I could draw my stencils and artwork for screen printing, to create my own usable fabric.

First, I hand printed the blocks of colour using stencil cut-outs. Once that was done, I could screen print the much more detailed black outlines of the flowers. Screen printing can be a time-consuming process, so only did the most complicated part of the pattern using an exposed silkscreen. I blended the repeats with hand painting.

I am really happy with the final outcome! It's bold, quite contemporary, but still in keeping with the idea of flowers, colour and contrast to highlight the childish, girliness of my character. This is going to form the 'stomacher' part of the the bodice - I can't wait to see it in place!

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