Some of you may be on the Complex Cloth yahoo group and may recall the posts from a couple of weeks ago discussing the new discharge product deColourant. The owner of the company generously offered free samples to those who wanted to try them out. The specific discussion on the list related to the safety of discharge processes (I won't repeat it all here, but you can check the archives of the group for it if you're a member.)
I wrote to the owner of the company, Dave Riba. He wrote me back and sent me 2 little samples to try. One was the plain color remover and the other was mustard, which removes color and adds color in one step (in this case, mustard).
I thought I would post my little review here for anybody who is considering trying the product but isn't sure yet.
Here are my two samples, done on silk broadcloth, which I'd dyed and overdyed a few times last month. It had turned into a rather unattractive piece, just sitting on my table, which made it perfect for this experiment!
The top piece, with the dragonflies, is a small scrap. I first tested out screening the color remover and then the color adder. I screened the dragonflies and let it dry. I then ironed, using steam.
The discussion on the list was about safety and discharge, and my concern with this product, and any other, is that I have asthma, recently diagnosed, which has caused me problems in the past with discharge agents. Wheezing and coughing. I wanted to know how awful and chemical this product was.
I've used another brand's paste and the smell is awful and ironing it out is worse, much worse, and can't be overcome with even just open windows or a fan. It causes me irritation and the whole upstairs work area stinks of it.
So deColourant has a citrus scent, which is not terribly noticeable and I felt no irritation just screening it. When I ironed it I stood next to a fully open window, had cross windows and doors to the porch open, and the overhead fan on. I noticed nothing. This was just a few motifs that I was ironing and I felt no irritation, nor did I notice any smell.
What I did next was to immediately wash the piece. I didn't see any instruction to wait any amount of time (I may have missed this, as I've since seen someone write to say that you're supposed to wait 24 hours after setting before washing), so I washed it and brought it back to the board to iron while damp.
I had a lot of the mustard come off, at which point I realized in my next test I'd wait before washing. But I was still pleased with the results. As you can see in the following picture, part of the mustard did wash out, but it had removed color underneath which left the motif with a distressed, grungy look. I like that effect and will try to work with it in the future.
The second piece was larger and I stamped it with the color remover and with mustard. I used an awesome little trivet made of silicone I found at Target, if you're curious about the pattern.
When I ironed out this piece I did notice a smell and I felt slightly irritated, though I had all of the same windows open and fan on. I had to step out of the room for something and when I came back I didn't notice any lingering smell, though, which is different from the other paste I've used previously.
So, next time I use this product I will be using a respirator. Especially as I would likely be using more of it as I did on the bigger piece. But I think having all the windows open and fan going was probably enough to get the remaining fumes out.
The color removal isn't total, I don't think I'll ever be able to get a piece to go back to white, but that's not much different from any other discharge agent. I like the effect I was able to get, where it's lighter in the places I used the product, but you can still see a slight ghosting of the pattern that has previously been there.
I am going to purchase more of this product. And I'll order some of the color, too, as that's a cool process which has lots of possibilities.
And here's one last picture of this lovely October afternoon, with my dogs lazing about on the porch, watching the neighborhood go by (I will be so glad when we move and they can't see anything outside, they actually will jump up and bark every few minutes while sitting up here as people and cars go by...a tad irritating!)
p.s. to those who've wanted larger images...well, I don't know why, but even with me choosing "large" for my image upload on blogger they are still small. My images are not this small. They are large images. Blogger is shrinking them and I have no control over that. If you know of a setting in blogger to change this (other than the one that says "image size"...doesn't work) please let me know. I tried to make it better, I promise!