Sublimation

My work consists of disperse dyed and sublimated fabric. In this process, I paint my images or colors onto paper with disperse dyes. Once the dyes are dry, I sublimate the design onto fabric, in essence “printing” the fabric with the image I created.

Sublimation is a chemical process that transfers the dye by transforming it directly from a solid state to a gaseous state and then back to a solid state, without ever becoming a liquid. This process is enabled with heat and pressure. I use a heat press at 400 degrees Fahrenheit and 4,000 p.s.i. to transfer the dye to the fabric. The fabrics necessary for this process are extruded fabrics. These are polyester based fabrics, specifically synthetic fabrics which are plastic based. These fabrics do not take dyes as do the traditional protein or cellulose fibers because the dyes simply “slide” off the polyester/plastic. Sublimation allows the disperse dye to attach itself to the fibers and they become permanently printed. The dyed fabric is very colorfast and can withstand a fair amount of sunlight exposure.

Sublimation is commonly used in commercial applications. Event banners that are on fabric are often sublimated. In my art I apply the technology of sublimation to satin, and my fabric art pieces are printed many times, often adding different colors and tones until I am satisfied with the final result. These pieces are all one of a kind. The final fabric artwork cannot be duplicated. They are in essence, “monoprints”. I subsequently use the sublimated fabric either alone or in combination with other fabrics, some of which I have created either with free motion embroidery or hand woven on an 8-harness floor loom. I like the juxtaposition of the very traditional hand made cloth with the vivid satin printed and dyed cloth. The process of creating the cloth is as important to me as is the final outcome of my work.