I'm rather a novice in the surface design department. Sure, I've bought a lot of books, and I've got a lot of supplies -- but I don't get in there and actually DO it all that often. I chalk that up to laziness, really: I don't have a convenient set up, so I have to store everything in the garage, then pull it all through the house outside to the back patio when I want to experiment. So the spontaneous "I'll just print up a quick piece of cloth" doesn't happen around here.
(And yes, I KNOW there are industrious artists who are making exquisite pieces of cloth in their bathroom sinks with 4 square inches of counter space. So I am glad to have the patio, even if it means that a few garden plants take on the cast of whatever colors I'm working with for a few days.)
So. Last week at Festival of Quilts (just last week!) I bought a few thermofax screens for screen printing. I've done that once, and it was, as they say, dead easy. And I've got this orange quilt to make for Twelve by Twelve, and I'd been thinking about background fabric, and it dawned on me that I could PRINT the background fabric... et, voila!
I was experimenting with printing a big-textured screen and then over printing with a small textured screen. It looks weird here as a piece of cloth but I think it could have interesting possibilities cut up.
My happiest surprises involved printing on fabric I'd dyed previously and hadn't liked all that much. I had a batch of weird maroon-ish shades and I screened some Decolourant on that, then set it out in the sun for the afternoon ... and I really like the result.
They are still not colors I'd be inclined to use, but at least they are now in the category of "might use" instead of "Yuck - never."
I even discharged onto some old dye prints I'd done last summer, and they turned out well, too. (The only one I photographed looks a little weird, but you get the idea....)
All in all, it was worth the hauling stuff back and forth. And it might even make me want to do it again.