Materials and techniques
The pile on the fabric is natural – silk and cellulose - and the back is viscose. Cloth is washed first to remove any ‘finish’ that could be put on the fabric. Next the design is silk screen printed or hand painted. The paint used on the fabric is called devoré paste. It is an acid in the form of a powder or crystal, similar to caustic soda. The silk in the fabric is more sensitive to the paste and burns away quicker than the viscose.
When the devoré paste has been printed and dried, it is at the stage where it needs to be activated. The cloth is hung in a baking cabinet, which is similar to a domestic oven. The fabric is baked to a high temperature (180°c) for a couple of minutes. It is ready to be removed when the devoré printed areas are crispy to touch.
Carefully by hand the devoré printed areas are gently rubbed and knocked out. Great care must be taken at this stage as the crispy areas are very weak and prone to tear. When all the burnt devoré areas have been knocked away, the fabric must be washed to remove loose fibres and any remaining acid