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THE ART OF PAINTING ON SILK

This Craft is an  introduction to Painting on Silk.

The magic of painting on ‘pure white silk’ is seeing the images that emerge when silk paint is added. Every time I am amazed snd excited – every piece is a ‘one-off’ and no two pieces are ever the same – that’s the beauty.

Once I discovered the sheer joy of painting on silk, I was addicted – and the pleasure of seeing the vibrant colours flow and merge to create the most wonderful designs – it was – and still is a joy to behold. I truly believe that like me anyone can enjoy this beautiful art, with the creative spirit that is within all of us, if we let it out! …ANYONE CAN DO IT .. even if you have never held a paint brush before. ( I taught a young 10 year old girl to paint on silk and she made some lovely little gifts to give to her family, who were amazed as she had no previous experience in any kind of painting) .

WHAT DO I NEED FOR THIS ART YOU MAY BE WONDERING, well it is not one of the less expensive crafts to pursue, and a visit to your local art shop or looking up specialist suppliers of silk and silk painting materials is a must.

The usual silk for this painting is ‘Pongee Thai Silk’ or ‘Habitoi Thai Silk” which comes in plain white on a roll sold by the yard/meter or by ‘pre-designed’ with a product called ‘Gutter’ a blocking agent ( an outline design is drawn onto the silk with gutter from a squeezy tube or bottle, for you to paint within these boundaries) which I suggest as a beginner. You can buy the gutter if you want to design your own work.

A FRAME to stretch the working piece onto – it can be a home made wooden one or a special metal frame that stretches to different sizes – Special silk PINS that do not damage the precious silk when pinning to the frame.

  SOFT BRUSHES that hold paint well, they do not have to be the expensive ones and sponge shapes (bought from an art shop) can also be used for larger areas

SILK PAINTS usually sold in small jars and in a multitude of colours – if doing a lot of work then larger jars are available and more economicle – but the small jars do go a long way.

SALT ordinary table salt or rock salt – salt  gives special marble effects to the silk while it is still wet.

CLEAN WATER, OLD JAR FOR RINSING BRUSHES, CERAMIC PALETTE WITH SMALL DISHES (from and art shop) OR ANY SMALL CONTAINERS TO POUR A LITTLE PAINT INTO   and AN OLD SHIRT OR OVERALL

Silk painting is almost opposite of other types of painting. Usually, the artist paints by the ‘placement’ of the paint onto the work surface – but with Silk Painting, the painter controls the ‘movement’ of the paint within the boundary of the design made by the gutter/resist on the silk, rather than the placement. The type of brushes used therfore become less important because the Silk Dye itself spreads on the silk after being placed there, the painter allowing   the dyes flow so freely on the silk.

You can apply silk painting to make such things as Scarves, Ties, , Glass Cases, Purses, Hats, Pictures, Wall Hangings to name a few….Right, now all that’s out of the way … here the fun starts!

ARRANGE YOUR SMALL CERAMIC CUPS or DISHES with the colours you intend to use, and lay out your brushes, a jar of clean water. Now the silk has to be stretched ‘tight as a drum’ onto your frame with the silk pins, start at the top corner – right – the same side bottom, top left, bottom left, adding more pins at all sides, adjusting as you go to make sure there are no bumps or ridges THE WHOLE PIECE MUST BE PERFECTLY FLAT. 


Assuming you have chosen a ‘pre-gutter’ design and have your colours ready, start with the main item, dipping your brush into a colour JUST TOUCH THE AREA WITH YOUR BRUSH to paint and let the paint flow and ‘do it’s thing’ you can add a second colour if you wish and it will merge into the first colour – DON’T TRY TO PAINT  – let the silk paints do the job and you will get the most amazing effects/finishes, leave the background till last.

SALT – while the silk is still wet sprinkle either the fine salt or rock salt (which gives a stronger effect)  to an area you wish to ‘marble’ try it out on a small area and see the reults -be careful that you only sprinkle the salt on the area/s that you want to change, the salt draws up the moisture that then  gives the marble effect,  it has to left on the silk till all is dry before removing.

AFTER THE SILK IS COMPLETELY DRY – remove from the frame carefully by taking out the pins gently so that you do not harm the silk, brush off gently the  added salt and now these dried colours have TO BE FIXED permanently into the silk to allow it to be washed and to prevent the colours fading in sunlight … if this is not done, then all your work will be ruined as the colours WILL fade and ‘unfixed’ colours WILL ‘watermark’ and stain when in contact with water.

To prevent this happening, all work is IRON FIXED  using a domestic iron on HOT  – yes it can be ironed with the setting on hot no problem – cover your ironing board with a clean cloth and iron on THE REVERSE SIDE for about 3/4 minutes, going over and over the piece covering every inch. Sometimes the gutter, especially metallic ones can leave reprints on the cloth.  After fixing in this way the clours are permaent and the silk can now be washed or dry cleaned. Remeber: Silk is an Organic Fiber and comes from the ‘silk worm’ a species of catapillar or moth which produces fiber i.e silk, it wil dissolve in chlorine so all silks should be washed in ‘pure soap’ , clear dish washing liquid or shampoo is fine, So with care your fine silk will last you for many years – Get Painting and Enjoy… IT’S EASY-PEASY!

I hope you found this information a help to you – and if you do ‘have-a-go’ get the pleasure, enjoyment and thrill of giving your hand made presents to those you love.

A SIMPLE IDEA FOR YOUR SMALL 12X12 INCH SILK PAINTING –      A SLEEP PILLOW

Stitch a same size piece of material all round three of the sides, turn right side out. Make a little pouch and fill it with pot pouri and close it – add some wadding to the inside of the pillow, include the pouch, also close the pillow with a zip or slip stitch the opening.  To make it more decorative a frilly lace edge looks good. Place on your sleep pillow, on you bed pillow  before covering with your duvet and remove it when going to bed, and there you have a lovely scented pillow to rest your weary head.  Barbara

EXTRA – EXTRA … TIPS AND BITS FOR PAINTING ON SILK

1). MIXING THE COLOURS OF THE SILK PAINTS/DYES

Make sure you always mix enough of the colour/s you want to cover a specific area, as it is very hard to get the same colour again. If you want a lighter colour, dilute it with water, and only use black when you are using black …DO NOT darken a colour with black it just goes muddy – instead use a darker shade of the colour i.e. red – burgundy.

2). STARTING TO PAINT YOUR SILK

It is always best to start with a light colour, painting from the centre  of the marked out gutta area and let the paint flow and spread, then using the second colour add lightly and let the two merge together to give a two-tone effect. Be aware that if you use water to correct a mistake it leaves a ring, so its best to leave it as it is

3).  USING GUTTA TO MAKE YOUR OWN DESIGN.

First, make sure that the silk is stretched tight onto the frame with no bumps or ridges , taking hold of the tube or bottle of gutta, hold it upright (try a squeeze on a spare piece or onto paper etc first to get the feel of the ‘flow’) wipe the nozzle before you start on your piece and each time you stop and start to draw again. Press the tip to the silk and gently draw the outline of your design, there can be NO GAPS – each area must be completely closed, like a wall, if not the colour from area will seep through the gap and spoil the next area.

4). FRAMES FOR SILK PAINTING.

Before you go rushing off to buy frames, try using what you have to start, an embroidery frame is ideal for small pieces – or it is possible to use and unwanted picture frame – the back is usually flat, use normal ‘thumb-tacks/drawing pins’ to fix the silk and it is a good idea to cover the edge with masking tape or selotape as sometimes the colours stain the wood and can spoil your next painting. … if you have a ‘handyman’ available a wood interlocking frame is easy to make, then when ready to make larger items there are several frames and pins available from suppliers to make the job easier.

5.) NOT SO HAPPY WITH YOUR FIRST RESULT

All is not lost, don’t discard them, use part or whole piece and make a little something of use, for instance make  little sachets to put pot pouri inside a scented sleep pillow.

Hope these snippets are of use to you – At last a few more Silk painted items – and don’t forget Christmas is just around the corner and these make unusual gifts – also the small sqaure hankies are ideal to slip into a greeting card as an extra suprise!

CHILDRENS SQUARE   SQ SLEEP PILLOWS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 SO MANY IDEAS TO USE THE FINISHED ITEMS – ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO DO AND A EVEN GREATER PLEASURE TO GIVE AS A GIFT!SQ 4 SCARVES

CHAIR

SQ 8ODD ITEMS

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