adventures between the cracks
Cracks have been hitting the catwalk lately in Paris and New York.
The Rag and Bone Spring collection 2013 used cracked leather and neon green.
Alexander Wang’s Fall/Winter collection for Balenciaga used black and white fabrics that look like cracked leather but are apparently wool jersey coated with acrylic paint and once dry stretched to create cracking patterns.
So I’ve been doing some experiments on different fabrics to see what kind of effects kroma crackle can achieve that might work on wearable art; shoes, bags, jackets and hats.
Once dry and sealed with acrylic medium kroma crackle is flexible and durable. The key to effective cracking is adhesion to the underlying surface, and using a coat of acrylic paint beneath the crackle is the easiest way to ensure a suitable surface for the crackle to bond with.
Fabric surfaces that can lay flat while the crackle dries can be given a layer of crackle applied with a palette knife. Here part of the front flap of a messenger bag has been painted with acrylic colours and given a layer of kroma crackle tinted with a little black acrylic paint. As the crackle gel dries the colours and design can be seen between the cracks.
Using crackle without a layer of acrylic paint or clear medium underneath is possible but the absorbency of the fabric can effect the cracking pattern and take longer to dry than acrylic coated surfaces.
These examples of untinted crackle on uncoated synthetic suede have unusual but quite beautiful cracking patterns.
Once the cracks have formed the crackle slowly turns white.
Securing the edges of the fabric to a rigid surface before applying the crackle can prevent the fabric buckling as it dries.
Lutradur mixed media fabric is ideal for using with crackle, but should be coated with a layer or two of acrylic medium or colour before the crackle is applied. This example shows crackle tinted with shades of green acrylic paint on Lutradur fabric that has also been covered with washes of clear medium
Sometimes a shiny smooth surface will have trouble bonding with acrylics, but this orange vinyl, once coated with acrylic paint, proved to work fine with the crackle, and did not buckle like some other flexible surfaces.
As the crackle dried it pulled the black paint with it revealing the orange vinyl underneath in some places.
Surfaces that cannot lie flat while drying can be crackled using the quick drying DeMented Derma technique. This synthetic ball cap was given a coat of red acrylic paint, then a coat of pva glue, and then a layer of crackle was applied with a brush and dried using a heat tool. The direction of the strokes influences the cracking pattern and produces cracks that are quite different from allowing kroma crackle to dry naturally on a flat surface.
These examples show a few possibilities for projects using crackle on different fabrics. Many other variations are possible, with the key ingredients being kroma crackle, an openness to experimentation, and patience while waiting for the cracks to form – (or pva glue and a heat tool if your’e short on patience or time)