Calculated Risk

light it up!

One of the things I’ve really been wanting to try is discharge printing. Screen printers that I’ve dealt with don’t do it, but some of the results look very interesting. In simplest terms, it’s almost like printing with a type of bleaching agent. The color of the shirt is stripped away where the chemical is printed, and it is printed in the usual method of screen printing. It’s the subtractive method to screen printing’s usual additive method of just adding ink to the shirt. Neat stuff.

One of the things about it that fascinates me, is that you can add color to the discharge agent. This is neat: you’re stripping away color with the chemical, and replacing it with a different color at exactly the same time. And, from the documentation that I’ve read, the ‘hand’ of these garments are incredible, and there is no stiffness due to an opaque layer of ink (or many layers) on the shirt.

Unfortunately, the documentation also says the following regarding the chemical agent:

Deluge with water to extinguish this material as it has its own oxygen supply, thus making dry chemicals or carbon dioxide ineffective.

Nice. This shit brings its own oxygen supply to the table. Bad. Ass.

I think, at this point in reading, fine. Have water on hand, don’t set it on fire to begin with. Trying to be thorough, I read onward and see more information such as the following:

Discharge Agent has an unpleasant odor and should be handled carefully in its crystal form then blended into the ink by a properly trained employee. Always blend the ZFS slowly until it is well mixed in the ink to prevent dust, ZFS is relatively safe once in solution.

Hm. “Properly trained.”

And also, my favorite from this one: relatively safe once in solution.

You know, I love making stuff, and I love trying things others won’t, trying things I know nothing about, but I’m thinking maybe, just maybe, this time I should back off. How about more batik, I ponder. All the sewing had made me miss it a little.

And with batik all I have to worry about are toxic wax fumes. And setting the wax on fire. Oh, and the dye is kinda cancerous in powder form.