I had a great first meeting with Roger Bateman at the end of October where I learnt about his research on the Green to Gold project (using a flax PLA composite fabric that when heated, creates structured forms). It was a great introduction to the material and I got to see some examples of it's uses, most notably in the biodegradable cabinet. I came away with several examples of the basic hopsack weave cloth to run some printing tests on. The fabric is a very thick material, thicker even than the usual upholstery weight fabric I use in my own work. It is woven with a very thick thread that, when woven into the hopsack design, has a very defined woven structure. My first impression was that this could cause issues when trying to pattern the fabric so for the first tests I decided to stick to some very large, simple patterns. I chose my Thorns print, a two colour design with a large geometric pattern.
Here are the first printing tests, I knew I had a lot of thick fibres to work with so I made sure I made enough passes to drive the ink into the material.
The PLA version of the fabric darkens in colour when heated so I wanted to make sure I chose some colours that would stand out. I chose black to show the dark end of the scale and then chose a bright blue with a slightly opaque white base. Choosing these two colours also means I can test the transparency vs slightly opaque inks.
I also printed a completely opaque version of the print in white and green. These opaque inks are very different in their make up and tend to sit on the surface of the fabric more so they don't have as soft a handle.
These first print tests are to take to the Composites Evolution factory so that we can see how the pattern reacts once heated and pressed.