Yesterday I mentioned a fabric-painting book, by Mickey Lawler, which I purchased in 2001. I have painted on canvas and paper for many years and at that time had a pretty impressive collection of acrylic paints. When I first began experimenting with them on fabric I was always disappointed with the stiff plastic results. The fact that this is inherent in the nature of those paints was beside the point, I continued to search for a solution. My first experience with Setacolor paints happened at a PAQA retreat when Melody Johnson brought some for all of us to play with. She brought fabrics she had painted with this stuff, heat set it, washed it, and wonder of wonders, it did not change the hand of the fabric significantly, in most cases, not at all. This was one of those totally WOW experiences for me.
My next step, as is my normal pattern, was to find a book and learn more. At my favorite local, not so traditional quilt store, I found the book. I read it from cover to cover the first night. The very next day I went in search of the paints. My favorite local crafts store stocked them along side the T-shirt blanks. 9 or 12 pretty basic transparent colors, $9 bucks a bottle. That was really expensive for me at that time. I was accustomed to 49 cents a bottle for most acrylics, maybe $1 for airbrush quality. On the wall I found a starter kit, with 6 small jars, mostly primary colors. Ms. Lawler said, in her book, that a 50/50 dilute with water was her starting point and sometimes more. I had a 40% off coupon so I figured OK, I’ll try this and see how far it goes. Magic !!! Years and years and yards and yards of fabric later, watching the wet into wet paint moving, primary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors, becoming new colors, right there on the fabric still excites me!!! If you want to try fabric painting, buy this book and work through the exercises, you won’t be sorry.