I've been trying to work out how to create a background for my newest piece which features my foot. The intention is to have a long wall hanging with footstep going up the wall that are stitched in various ways to reflect my different stages of life and my thoughts/knowledge/feelings at those stages. What I wanted to do for the background was create something that was dyed that looked like it had several layers on it and that gave an effect of shadowy footprints. I was thinking along the lines of the sun-printing, where you paint the fabric, and whilst it's wet, put down some cut-out shapes and place it in the sun to dry - it gives you different shades under the shapes to the stuff that wasn't covered. This would mean that I'd have to cut out some shapes to put down, and the shape that I've been using doesn't really work with this (the toes are separate an would take an age to get right, and knowing me I'd end up with really wonky toes with half missing and the other half looking as though they were broken)
So I've discovered discharge dyeing - where you bleach out the colours and stop when you get a colour that you like. This would work as I plan on starting with dark colours (blacks, blues etc) which should discharge well. I'll have to sample it.
The potato dextrin is another form of resist printing - but I don't know too much about it, so I'll look into that if the discharge doesn't work.
There's also batik, but I want a subtle look that doesn't give a harsh background.
Will do some sampling tonight. If it works then I will dye my fabric pieces tonight as well.