These are transfer sublimation disperse dye monoprints on synthetic fabric. I make the dyes from a powder so that they are as thick as tempera paint. I use the same powder to make crayons, as commercially bought fabric crayons only come in eight colors, and you are crazy if you think that is enough!
Using the dyes and crayons, you apply color to drawing paper - sometimes several layers of color. The liquid dyes can be combined with the crayons, or, for a more painterly effect, you can use only the dyes. You can use the crayons as traditional drawing tools or as rubbing tools to create textures. Once the painting is dry, you place it onto a hot press with the fabric. The heat from the press transfers the colors from the paper onto the fabric. It is a magical experience as the liquids and crayons never quite look the same once heat is applied, so you are always making educated guesses as to what your colors will ultimately look like. It is an imperfect, risky, but intriguing way to create images, intriguing at least for me.
After printing once, I often will use the same paper(s) again, resulting in a ghost print, and I also like to mix first-run papers with second- or third-run papers. Sometimes I use the papers for collages, as can be seen in the images in the third row, second in from the left, and the fourth row, last image on the right. I have also experimented with making different size prints - from 2 1/2 x 3 1/2" and up to 8 x 10'. These large pieces are the first and third images; the blueish one is a ghost print. I made 75 'paintings' for this work.
Disperse dye is one of my favorite surface design methods to teach as I love watching my students gasp with surprise when I lift the cover of the hot press and they see their colors come to life. And, even though I have been using disperse dye for more than a decade now, I, too, get a thrill when I lift up that cover.
Be sure to check out four videos that I have posted on YouTube, which are primarily about disperse dye. The links to these videos are on the last section of this website, or you may access them here: "Homage to Ndebele" Opening of Window Installation Studio Montclair Gallery, 12/09/2022, Slide Show for Peters Valley at PA Library, Peters Valley Faculty Show, Solo Show, Greenwich, CT and DD-Prep Paper Prep.