Friday, June 10, 2016

Getting Ikat with Gel Press

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My love affair with all thing Ikat (pronounced 'ee-KAHT') is still going strong.  Our challenge for this post is to create something using zentangle.  I love to look at other artists' zentangles and what they do with this emerging art form but I must say, it's not for me to create.  However, I view Ikat as very simlar to zentangle as an art form: They are both about creating unique patterns.  For whatever reason, Ikat really speaks to me.  So I am combining my love of this art form with my love for Gel Press™printing. To be honest, I have a zentangle stamp that I could use and be done with this project very quickly.  But I really want to try my hand at creating an Ikat pattern.  Oh why, oh why, must I always take the harder path?!

Ikat, or ikkat, is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist dyeing process on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric. In ikat the resist is formed by binding individual yarns or bundles of yarns with a tight wrapping applied in the desired pattern. The yarns are then dyed.

I decided to use a large piece of butcher paper to create my pattern.  Since the Gel Press™ comes in petite shapes, I figured I could use the triangle to make a diamond and the oval for my shapes and use them as guides to create my pattern.

Before starting my project, I practiced making the Ikat shapes.  My practice sheet is in the photo below.  Using the Gel Press™ to make my pattern is going to make this much easier to create.

24" x 18" Butcher Paper
Angle Paint Brush
Acrylic Paint


Mount the triangle Gel Press™onto an acrylic block and set up the 5"x 7" Gel Press™.  I kept my sample sheet close by for reference.

Apply paint to the 5" x 7" Gel Press™ and brayer it.  Press the triangle Press onto the  5"x 7" Gel Press™ to load paint onto the triangle.  I'm using the triangle as a stamp and 5"x 7" Gel Press™ as the ink pad.

Stamp twice, reloading paint in between, to create a diamond shape.

I filled a bit over half the paper before I got bored with the shape and decided to include an oval.

Repeat the process using the oval Gel Press™ and blue paint.

Clean the Gel Press™ Plates and put them away in the clam shell package.  Place a small amount of the purple paint onto the acrylic block.  An angle brush is important for this technique.  I tried it with a regular flat brush and it did not give me the result I wanted.

Hold the brush so the longest point is facing up and make short strokes along the edges of each diamond with the tip of the brush.  It's better to have less paint on the brush to get feathery strokes.  The edges should look blurry or hairy.  Reload the brush often with more paint.  I made several layers in some places.

Repeat the same process for the blue ovals.

Add layers of colors using the same painting technique.

Ikat patterns are typically bright colors so I layered colors that would pop against one another.

Here is the completed sheet.  So what am I going to do with it?  I thought about wrapping a gift with it, but this took lots of time and the thought of someone ripping it apart and throwing it away didn't make me happy.  So I got out one of my art journals.

I realized that I could cover two journal spreads using this size paper.  So I cut the sheet in half and glued it down using matte medium.  

I printed out some images that represent what I love about Ikat.  Identifying and recording what inspires me is a great way to use my art journal and this spread does just that! I want to play more with these patterns!

For more inspiration, visit the other designers' blogs:
Kathy   <------- you are here

For more info on Ikat:
The History of Ikat
How It's Made Video
How to Paint Ikat