Silk Painting

9:51 AM Posted In , , , , Edit This 2 Comments »
First, Let me say that it is COLD.

And I am sick of it. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired and cold already. Doesn't bode well for the rest of he winter. :) I'm seriously considering putting the computer out by the woodstove and the TV in here where the computer sits. You can huddle with all of your extremities in a blanket when you watch TV - which we don't do much of, anyway - but your finger have to be thawed and mobile in order to type.

I'm sitting here wearing Bryan's fleece Balaclava, two sweaters, a pair of fleece pants and a thick, fuzzy blanket. All you can see of me are my glasses, my nose and my mouth. I look like Mrs. Who.

It will get better - we finally have all the insulation up in the living room, Bry is ready to hang sheetrock and we will be putting the windows back this weekend whether or not we get around to stripping them first. They can always come back out for painting in the spring and as soon as I get curtains, they will be covered most of the winter, anyway.

Anyway, here is a little of what I have been doing when I'm not huddled around the woodstove.

I started some silk painted scarves over Studio Tour and I have been comissiioned to make five of them for a friend before Christmas so I've been stealing a few moments here and there for painting up in my studio. (It stays pretty warm up there)

Above is a photo of my stretcher frame that Bry made me. It is not great for very wide pieces of silk but it can handle 1/2 to 3/4 of a yeard easily. The real genius of it is that its length is adjustable and the silk is held on the frame using rubber bands. I sew my silk to a dowel at each end, set my frame up to be about a foot longer than my scarf and attach the dowels with rubber bands. The rubber bands keep tension on the silk as it is being painted so that it does not sag and touch the table while it is wet.

In the photo you can also see my secret recipe resist. Elmer's school glue gel is great. I can brush it on a stamp and stamp designs onto my silk or apply it in lines with an applicator bottle. It is incredibly inexpensive, non toxic, no fumes, washes out easily if I make a goof, is sturdy enough to stand up to several layers of dye and can be tinted with silk dye to a pale pastel color should I want that option. Plus, if I run out, I don't have to special order it. When I cure my silk, it just disappears and leaves the resisted area just as soft as the rest of the scarf. I can then leave that area white or I can highlight it with metallic textile paint.

The scarf on the frame is a design that I call Thethuthinang - after the name of a rabbit in Watership Down. The name means "Movement of the Leaves" nd I think that describes this design well. I start with a series of flowing lines and simple leaf shapes drawn onto the silk with the applicator bottle and I paint the first layer of color on. I generally start with ver soft pastel shades in blues, greens & yellows or or pinks and oranges. It doesn't seem to work well with purples for some reason.

When the first layer of dye is dry, I apply another layer of resist in a similar lines and leaves motif.

I may paint up to three layers of resist and paint on a Thethuthinang scarf. This particular one has three but I wonder if I should have stopped at two. I use salt effects generously in this design and when it is completely dry and cured, I will iron it out and paint on some metallic highlights. I've tried using metallic gutta for the whole design but that looks terrible and I hate gutta. It actually has a greater tendency to fail than the Elmers' gel does. Plus it is expensive, stinky and usually impossible to remove.

I haven't got to the highlighting part on this scarf yet, but I will be sure to post photos when I do.

Here are some other scarves I'm working on for my friend. She requested one scarf each in blue, purple, green, orange and red. I've been taking the color schemes and developing my own designs for each one.

The first has a carnation bud & blossom motif with dragonflies and moons, painted in purples & violets.

The next one has a blossom motif painted in blues. One photo looks like there is a lot of purple there but it is really a deep indigo blue - my camera sometimes has trouble rendering blues well when there are aquas and indigos present.

The carnation, moon and dragonfly stams are handmade. Someday I will do a tutorial on making these stamps. It is very easy and they are great for aplying resist, thickened dye or paints to fabric and also handy for home decor. They are a bit big for card making but they would work well on paper if you had a large area you were working with.

I'll post photos of all the scarves when thy are cured and highlighted - but for now - it is time to go stoke thefire and get warmed up again!


Anonymous said...

The scarves are absolutly beautiful. Thanks for my earings I love them and so does Jack. He said "you mean Ginnie made these?" to which I relplied YES !!!
You are a wonderful and beatiful person and I am glad to call you my friend.

Virginia Burnett said...

Thank you, Deb! I'm so glad you love your earrings. :) It is wonderful to send things to a friend!

Love you!


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