Friday, December 4, 2009

Facinating textures with minimal effort

After a very shaky start, I have finally started to feel comfortable with the silk painting process. I wouldn't claim anything near competent, but at least I am now starting to see what magic lies underneath the craft. With a few brush strokes and different dyes one can create the most amazing fluid stripes, as soft as soft, or bright as bright as one wants. The simple addition of salt, either rock salt or table salt (no iodine) added to a pool of colour or several circles of different colours, one can watch as the dyes magically move and swirl into patterns and extract the colours that have been mixed.
The silk I used for this was habutai pre rolled scarves. There are many types of silk, and it can be confusing. Tissue or chiffon is very very fine and often used for nuno felt. Habutai is a more dense weave and provides a firmer surface for applying dyes. Sometimes, this will also be called Japanese silk or Pongee. There is also thicker and more densely woven silks, all of which are okay to use.
This is probably the most expensive part of the whole process, but when the cost of a silk scarf is compared to the cost of the fabric to paint, it really does make a very reasonable gift for your mum, friends or even cris cringle.
A good reference I used is Silk Painting: New ideas and textures, Jill Kennedy & Jane Varrall. There is a lot of information on all the different techniques one can use.


  1. Wow! Looks beautiful. I used to love doing silk painting, it is very forgiving in that you don't have to be able to draw, the medium itself contributes to the effects.
    Looks like you have been busy - and having fun.

  2. It is so much fun, and I now have lots of pretty wraps for my christmas gifts!

  3. Also, a Christmas gift made by the artist herself is priceless! There won't be another exactly like it, anywhere.