Category Archives: Surface decoration

Stone walls and porridge

I’ve started doing some work on stone walls and have been debating how to get the basic stone effect. I played about with using porridge (oatmeal) as a resist a while ago and had, um, mixed results. So, this time I thought I’d go about it in a more structured way.

I’ve taken two different soda soaked fabrics, cotton sateen and linen, the sateen having a very smooth surface and the linen a more textured surface. I then mixed jumbo oats with an equal amount of boiling water, stirred it and left it to stand for about 10 minutes. This gungy mixture was then spread on the fabrics, one area thickly and the other thinly on each fabric, scraping some marks to roughly indicate the gaps between the stones. The amount of porridge I mixed (500ml oats plus 500ml water) treated roughly a metre by half a metre of fabric although this will vary considerably depending on how thickly it’s spread. 

wet porridge

This was all left to dry thoroughly.

I painted half of each section with thin dye and half with thickened dye. As you’ll see in the following photos, the thin dye gave a much softer result than the thickened version. This, to me, looks much ‘stonier’  which is what I’m after. 

As for the fabrics, the sateen, as expected, gave a crisper result and the line a rougher look as the weave showed through nicely. I think I’m going to continue working with the linen.


The basic technique and the recipe came from ‘Visual Texture on Fabric’ by Lisa Kerpoe – ISBN: 978-1-60705-447-4.

Experiments with linen

I’ve been working on cotton sateen for a long time now – it has such a beautiful surface, takes colour beautifully and has a really close weave which gives great detail when I’m screen printing, digital printing or cyanotyping. A good, all round fabric until now …

No, the fabric hasn’t changed but I’ve started hand stitching and the sateen is an absolute so and so for this. So, I’ve been thinking what I could use which would give me the qualities I like in the sateen but with a looser weave that I could get a needle through without so much swearing :-).

I have a great sister and she gave me some very old linen sheets so I thought I’d experiment with those and see what results they would give me with my favourite techniques. So far, so good.

linen tests 1

Good, strong colour.

 linen tests 3

and a good surface for printing and scraping.

I think I can feel a discharge session coming on next … 🙂