Kristin here. I hang my show in a week, and I feel like I'm pretty much ready for it. So now I have time to move on to the next ideas I want to explore. One of the things I want to do involves making a full-sized sun-print of a person. When I get the chance, and have the materials, I try out a technique.
Plan A and B: The first try was painting fabric with slightly diluted, water-based, fabric paint, and then laying on it until the sun had wicked away the moisture and created an image.
Unfortunately, 45 minutes in the made me sweat, which affected the print in an interesting, but not appropriate for my purposes, way. I tried again adding a cloth underneath and a shirt to absorb sweat, and got much better results. However, when I washed the fabric, a lot of the luscious color washed out an the whole piece had a worn, scuffed, look I didn't like.
Plan C: The next thing I tried, was to use my husband as a stencil and spray fiber reactive dye around him. Dye creates a much richer color, but boy was it hard to wash off my man afterwards. Unfortunately, spraying dye doesn't saturate the fabric the same was as immersion, and the resulting fabric was very light after I washed it out. Not the look I was going for. Bummer.
Plan D: So, I mixed mixed the best of both worlds and painted my cloth with Inkodye, a dye that reacts in the sun, and used my hand as a stencil. Love it! But then when I tried to go full size, I dipped the fabric in the dye instead of painting it on (speed was of the essence), I laid my fabric on a cloth to absorb sweat, and I used a different fabric. My resulting print lacked the contrast of the test.
Plan E and F: I'm learning and refining as I go. I'm pretty certain that I will actually use parts from each of my tests and patch together a pretty interesting image. I will try the Inkodye again with my husband (I need male and female parts) using conditions closer to my test. Depending on how that works out, I will probably also switch to small scale and print individual body parts as needed, using the Inkodye or paint.
Although none of these images are exactly what I want, I'm not frustrated. It's all part of the learning and exploring process. Each try teaches me something. Not knowing exactly how something will turn out is part of the adventure. It will all work out in the end, so I know the investment of time and materials is worth it.