The recipe is a very simple one, for every 100ml of water you add 10gms of epsom salt, 20 gms of gum arabic and 30 grams of clay powder (the kind of clay used to clean your hair. I used Bentonnite). I started with warm water so the epsom salt would dissolve quickly, then the gum arabic and then the clay powder. You can do this in a mortar or use laboratory beaker with magnetic stirrer. The clay resist should be stirred until smooth like heavy cream with no lumps.
Remember, you are working backward. When you repaint the clay resist over the previous work and dye, you are keeping some parts of the original design and some parts of the subsequent addition from getting darker as you progress. The next photo will show the piece aft the second resist layer and dip in indigo.
The next photo will show you how the last clay resist layer was painted over the previous work to protect everything I wanted to remain the same, only the background and any unprotected areas would change to darker shades.
Here is the finished piece. Can you see how many shades of blue are now in the piece, one drawing, one indigo vat and about 4 shades of indigo in the finished piece.
I had a little clay resist left over, so I decided to try another experiment. What if I spread some clay resist on a foam stamp. Would it print? Yes it did. So now I have a lead into my next post of resist dyeing with indigo.
It's funny, when you get started on a new path, every couple of hours a new idea pops into our head. I decided to take the very commercial looking stamping and do a little free hand clay resist painting and see what would happen. This photo shows how just a little handwork can make a design much more organic looking. I think I will continue to see how far I can take this piece.