Have you ever discharged a fabric? This is a fun product and technique to work with for surface design, screen printing, or just plain altering a fabric. Discharge, in the textile world, means taking color out of cloth and can be done with several products. Bleach is the most obvious, but also the most harmful; you must use a bleach-stop product or risk damage over time to the fabric. There is a product called Anti-Chlor to do this. You can also use a bleach pen, spray, or even Cascade dishwasher detergent. However the product we use most frequently is called deColourant by Harbor Sales Inc. It's available from online sources like Pro-Chem and Dharma Trading and retail outlets like Artistic Artifacts. This is a much more user friendly product in that the odor is greatly reduced and it is the perfect consistency for screen printing.
So why am I blogging about this? Well, Sue's art group issued an "ugly" challenge in which we swapped fat quarters of an "ugly" fabric (and let me tell you, ugly is all relative, depending entirely on individual perspective), and need to use the "ugly" in a 12" square quilt. I decided to alter my "ugly" fabric first by discharging it. It is a batik, black background with brown cats. Typically, black will discharge to brown, sometimes gray. So I set about applying the discharge paste through a screen with a crackle image, anticipating a brownish result that would add some background texture and blend with the cats.