Colour on Paper and Fabric: A Wealth of Techniques for Applying Colour

by Ruth Issett
Publisher: B. T. Batsford Ltd.
Contents: 110 pages, 3 Chapters: Materials, Basic Techniques and Combined Techniques, List of Suppliers (England) and an Index.

Reviewed by Dorothy L. Johnson
Originally Published Summer 1999

Ms. Issett is a Textile Artist creating artwork from wall hangings to exquisite clothing as well as teaching her techniques throughout England. Over 75 colored examples of her work appear in the book. Ms. Issett uses several types of dye to create elegant color combinations and patterning. A good basic text for a beginning ‘dyer’ who wants to experiment and have an excellent guide through the maze of what and how to do it.

Preparation appears to be a key point with the author. Being careful about collecting the fabrics to work with. (Natural fibers produce the finest textures and highest absorbency.) Selecting the appropriate dye to be used, noting that the fabric will dictate the type of dye. For example: Dyes for silk, dyes for cotton, acrylics for fabric painting are but a few. There is considerable pre-dying set-up time prior to beginning any project.

In the chapter of ‘Fabrics,’ the author defines the properties of four basic materials used for dying: Cotton, Linen, Silk and Viscose, with by various weights and textures. A point of interest, the author selected one color and using the same precise hue, dyed five different fabrics with blue and using red dyed another set of seven samples. Each piece of fabric absorbed the color in a slightly different manner which altered the hue slightly. Brilliance and the depth intensity of the hue varied also.

Various fabric mediums are discussed: Dyes, acrylic paints, inks, powders, paint sticks, etc. Tools to create fabric designs include, sponges, rollers, brushes, plate glass, print blocks, roller printing, masks and stencils.

The author also discussed paper, how to print and dye using acrylics, inks and bronze powders.

Excitement lies in the combining of the various coloring agents and the many different tools to have unique pieces of art emerge. Ms. Isset likes to machine embroider. One major piece is taken from design through the several stages of coloring fabric and threads to form the final presentation. Outcome, three pillows from drawings of African Pots and patterns found on African houses.

A pure delight for the person who loves color, design and textiles.