Playing with Alcohol . . . it’s not what you think!

6 August 2009 at 8:51 am 4 comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Alcohol works as a resist with dyes, so by alternating alcohol washes with silk dyes, you can get some beautiful shading effects.

This silk piece was given a subtle background pattern by using the parfait method (more about parfait on another post).  I used water-based resist to draw my design.   Once the resist had dried thoroughly, I used a cotton swab to dampen the bottom of the petal shape.  I dipped a paintbrush lightly into indigo dye and applied the color to the top of the petal.  I then quickly dipped my brush point into water and washed it over the alcohol area of the petal.  This gives a pretty gradation in color. 


I repeated the technique across the scarf on both the petals and leaves — you can see the rich effect it gives.

Alcohol dries pretty quickly, so you’ve got to work quickly once it’s applied to each area you’ve defined with resist, but the results add a lot of depth and modulation to your silk painting.  Here’s a view of the finished piece, which is listed in my Etsy shopOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



Entry filed under: All Posts, art and artists, processes in silk painting / surface design. Tags: , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marcia Ferris  |  24 January 2012 at 8:58 pm

    This is a good example of how you can use fabric that has been Parfait ed?

  • 2. Mary  |  6 August 2009 at 10:21 am

    That is so beautiful. It’s nice to see the details of how you made it.

  • 3. Joni Stinson  |  6 August 2009 at 9:41 am

    Your work is amazing….as always! I learn so many interesting facts from you! Keep up the good work.

  • 4. chauncey  |  6 August 2009 at 9:02 am

    I confess, parfait and alcohol mean totally different things to me, and I rarely mix them together but the result here is really beautiful.


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