Monday, 29 June 2015

Solar Fast Dyes - Catching some rays

Dyes to Print using the Sun
Need something fun to do in the sun? Make the most of the bright sunshine to create detailed prints without a camera!

Jacquard Solar Fast dyes are used to create photograms, continuous tone photographs, shadow prints, and ombr├Ęs on fabric and paper. They develop their colour and become permanent upon exposure to UV light, most easily sourced from the summer sun.

How do Solar Fast Dyes work?

The dyes are activated when exposed to sunlight, this means that anything that blocks the light from reaching the fabric or paper will cause no colour change in the dye, much like the Cyanotype Blue Printing.

Designs do not have to be complex in order to achieve a brilliant effect. Children will have fun printing anything from keys and leaves, to nuts and bolts. The Solar Fast dyes are available in a wide range of colours, and when painted onto different tones of material can produce interesting results. Please note; anything placed on top of the Solar Fast dye must be as flat and level as possible. If printing in the early hours or in the evening, the sun will create a long shadow from the object and create a distorted, or blurry print.

Printing photographs with Solar Fast

Print photographs from negatives
It is possible to make a print from a photograph using Solar Fast Film. This helpful product is inkjet printable and gives you the option to print photos from a computer. The film is transparent and will allow different levels of light through to the dye beneath, depending on how dark or light the image is. To create a good copy you will need to choose an image with good tonal variety, and for the purist a negative of the image can be produced with photo editing software.

Screen Printing with Solar Fast

Jacquard also offer a Solar Fast Thickener which when mixed with Solar Fast dye increases its viscosity to a point where it can be used with a printing screen. Experienced screen printers will love the different effects they can achieve using this in conjunction with other types of media.

Finishing your Print

Prints are permanent on both paper and fabric but textiles will need to be washed before they are worn or exposed to more sunlight. Use Solar Fast wash to remove the residue of undeveloped dye from prints to prevent the colours from running.  This is especially important for preserving white areas and highlights.

You can learn more about how to use the Jacquard Solar Fast dyes from this PDF created by the manufacturer, and results for light exposure times for each colour can be viewed here.

Please visit the Light Sensitive Printing section of the George Weil website to get started with Solar Fast printing.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Spinning Wheel Restoration

We really appreciate this letter we received from a customer in Scotland and the story behind the photographs she sent us.

"Enclosed is a before and after photo you kindly helped try to find a bobbin for to fit this 24" Norwegian Wheel - I have now met the lady owner from Iceland, who confirms that it belonged to her great grandmother, so must be in excess of 100 years plus."

"We have a good friend professional wood turner who has made 2 more bobbins [made from the dimensions of the bobbin she already had], my husband has completely restored/balanced this lovely wheel - giving her lessons myself, enrolled in the Dumfries Spinning Guild (with over 40 members meeting once a month)."

"In conclusion, your company will be quietly distributed in South West Scotland, as very helpful to keep us spinning."

Although we were unable to find new bobbins that matched the original bobbin, we suggested that she have them made by a wood turner and supplied her with contact details of a professional we have used in the past.  This feedback inspired the lady to contact her friend to make the bobbins.  We were able to help further, the reconditioned wheel now sports an Ashford Drive Band and replacement flyer hooks and its smooth running is assisted by the purchase of an Ashford Oil Bottle.

Spinning wheel waiting to be restored


The spinning wheel is restored and now working


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Tapestry Weaving in the Falkland Islands

Thanks to the wondrous invention of the world wide web, George Weil receive orders for craft tools and materials from all over the world. One of the furthest delivery destinations is the Falkland Islands and although it is more than 8,000 miles away, there has never been a lost parcel yet!

Our sales manager Jo has built up quite a 'close' relationship with our Falklander who has been ordering from George Weil for a number of years.  With the convenience of email, their conversations about life in the Falklands and here in the UK, has even lead to Jo receiving a parcel back - chewable toys for Jo's boxer puppies!

The latest email missives have included photo attachments showing how our customer has used all the lovely craft items we have been sending to her.  She has given us her kind permission to use the images but has asked to remain anonymous.

Tapestry of sheep in the Falkland Islands

 Tapestry on the Glimakra Tapestry Frame using hand-dyed
Falkland wool.

Wool dyed with natural dyes

The wool has been dyed using our natural dyes plus some of the local plants on the island.

Tapestry of Rockhopper Pengiuns in the Falkland Islands

The image above shows the subtle colours used to create this tapestry of the stunning views on the Falkland Islands

Silk throwsters waste coloured with silk paints

Parts of the vegetation have been created using silk throwsters waste coloured with silk paints.  This adds texture to the tapestry and an extra dimension in the silk painting of the fish below. 

Fish painted on silk fabric

Tapestry of Gentoo penguins in the Falklands

Gentoo penguins on the beach above and Rockhopper penguins below

Rockhopper penguins, rock hopping in the Falklands!