Today Julie, a textile science teacher (amongst other fabulous things) showed us the beautiful (and tedious!) art of fiber etching. The above photo is a great example of Julie's work.
The fabric is a silk, rayon, and velvet blend that she etched using stencils from Canadian stencil artist Sharon Sims. This particular table runner was etched with Fiber Etch Fabric Remover, available from Dharma Trading Co. in San Rafael.
From what Julie told us (and we poorly attempted at), you apply a light adhesive to your stencil and then firmly place it onto the fabric. Then you carefully apply the Fiber Etch using a thin paint brush. Once dried (twenty minutes or so) you iron the fabric until the etched portion is a light brown. Then hand wash and voila! You've got a great DIY project that'd be a cool addition to any home. Definitely takes practice, but judging by Julie's creation, it's totally worth it.