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Hand Painted Fabrics by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry

The pictures below and at the bottom of the page link to full size images of each fabric. ENJOY!!
Click here for a SLIDE SHOW TUTORIAL
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Hand dyed gradations

I started dyeing fabric 1984 because I couldn't get the colors I was looking for in the commercial fabrics that were available at that time. For the first few years I dyed solid colors in gradations of light to dark and color to color using fiber reactive dyes. By 1988, I had started painting with dye, making multi-colored fabrics. For many years most of the fabrics in my quilts were my own, one-of-a-kind, hand painted and hand-dyed fabrics.  In 2002, I started designing fabrics for Benartex that are based on my own original, multicolored, hand-painted fabric, and later, another line that can be used in the same way as my hand dyed gradations. Coincidentally it is called "Gradations".

Benartex Gradations

All of my quilts after 1990 were made with my fabric. That means it is either my own, one-of-a-kind, hand-dyed fabric, or commercial fabric that I have designed, based on my hand painted originals, and it has my name on the selvage. Many of my 30" quilts (2010-2013) were made entirely from my commercial designs. Most of my recent work since 2014 is a mixture of commercial and hand dyed fabric.

click the picture for a slide show of the whole fabric painting process.

Painting fabric with dye is a very messy process.  So I did most of it outside in the summer when the weather was warm. At one time or another I tried virtually every tool you can possible imagine for applying dye to fabric. After a several of years of experimenting, I discovered that the fabric that was most useful in the kind of quilts I wanted to make came from manipulating the wet fabric on a table top then pouring on the dye with squeeze bottles.

This evolved into what I call my schmuusch painting technique. First you schmuusch your fabric into a bucket of chemical water.  Then you dump it on a table. Then you stretch it and arrange it and  schmuusch it until it looks about right. Then you pour on some dye and  schmuusch it around with your hands, wearing gloves, of course.  Then you pour on some more dye  and schmuusch that into the other dye.  Then you pour on some more and schmuush it again, and you keep on doing that until it looks about right.  After about 1000 yards, you get to know what "about right" looks like. When it looks about right, I cover the whole thing with plastic, drag it off the table, and let it sit until the dye is set. I call this my high tech solar fabric cooker.  On a sunny day, it usually gets hot enough to set the dye the same day.  With no sun, I often let it sit for a couple of days. What you get is always a surprise, but you get nicer surprises after about 1000 yards of practice.

I haven't dyed any fabric since moving to Washington, HOWEVER, we move 75 bankers boxes, crammed full of fabric that I dyed in Illinois and Kentucky, before moving here. I probably have enough... you never know.

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Web Site Design by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry 1997-2016 All Rights Reserved
Bryerpatch Studio • 10 Baycliff Place • Port Townsend, WA • 98368 • USA
360-385-2568 • caryl@bryerpatch.com
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Updated 1/21/17