Posts tagged ‘scarf’

Hot silk dyes, cool results

Experimenting with new processes in color makes for a really fun collection of spring scarves!


16 April 2010 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

Beating the Heck out of Silk

When I first started working with Marcia-the-Mentor, I was astonished at how much she’d do to a piece of silk before she called it finished.  Now she’s got me doing it.

warmcharm3 This started out as a pink scarf that I overdyed with purple.  I used soy wax and batiked leaf shapes over it, then dyed it a darker purple.

I hated it.

I gave it a warm bath in thiox and as the pink and purple were removed, the scarf became pale orange and beige. 

I cut some shapes out of clear contact paper and stuck these to a blank silk screen.  Using Procion MX dyes thickened with sodium alginate, I made a dye paste to use on the silkscreen and made three color passes over the entire scarf:  one yellow, one orange, one a very greyed-out purple.  I just listed this piece at my Etsy shop.

screen1 To the left is the screen I used.  I blocked off one side with paper and duct tape and used only half the screen at a time. 

I later used the larger shape on the left of the screen to use the same process on another silk scarf I wasn’t happy with, pictured below and listed at my shop on 1000Markets.

coolcharm3 This one was done in cooler shades, using the same greyed-out purple dye as well as a yellow-bronze color, and just a touch of pink.

Both of these scarves feel wonderful; I think the hand of the silk softened with each process, although it’s still as strong as ever.   As always, they’re colorfast so you can handwash them in the silk with a little Woolite, or by machine on the gentle cycle.  Drip dry, then touch up with an iron. 

4 June 2009 at 7:07 pm 2 comments

Questionable Motifs in Art

I don’t know why, but I take perverse pleasure in painting unexpected things on frogbag2beautiful silk.  A few years ago, I kept putting ants across the hems of sophisticated silk scarves.  This year it’s frogs and motorcycles.   This bright orange frog is on view at my 1000 Markets shop. blkcycle1

I’ve blogged about my motorcycles before, but just finished the last of them for the Dakota Art Gallery in Sturgis, South Dakota; you know, the place that has the huge motorcycle rally where John McCain offered up Cindy during last year’s presidential campaign?  (It’s one of the most memorable moments in campaign history.)

medieval2I was inspired by some medieval tapestries at the Cloisters in New York last winter to design this scarf with large color areas . . . but then the sixth grader in me insisted on decorating it with symmetrical frogs.  This one’s also going to the Dakota OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Gallery. 


The elegant  taupe charmeuse on the right is decorated with all sorts of creepy crawlies climbing over it. monkey6

I’m afraid I must’ve got too weird when I decided to put a snarling monkey on this pretty pink and blue lotus scarf.  It’s one of the few things that’s been around for years, unsold.

martian2 I hit the mark with a fellow sci-fi fan, though, on this landscape from the Martian Chronicles:  it sold the minute I listed it!


19 May 2009 at 11:15 am Leave a comment


I’ve always loved the elegance in the line drawings of Asian cranes. It’s a much-loved motif in a number of art traditions, and it’s easy to see why the appeal is so universal.
clip_image002I drew a number of cranes to use as patterns, and have used the shape on quite a number of paintings in the past year. (Sometimes when I fall in love with a shape, it just keeps showing up!) The shapes going down the edge of the pink scarf are a mixture of my personal alphabet and shapes from Eastern European prehistoric rock art — I think of them as secret spells to protect the wearer.pinksalt1

This scarf is on display and for sale at The Joyful Jewel, in Pittsboro, NC.  It started as a white blank. I used gutta resist to draw in the cranes and symbols, then used a paintbrush to apply the color, using professional silk dyes. The background sky through which the cranes fly was sprinkled with rock salt while the dye was still wet. The salt is a catalyst for a chemical process that draws up the color and creates and beautiful, rainy pattern in the dye. The piece was then steamset for colorfastness, washed and ironed.

The cranes also fly across a fun floppy cotton hat, for sale at my OneDogTalking shop at Etsy.  The orange and yellow dyes are the hat are so vivid, the white really pops!  I’ve also just posted a silk ACEO at OneDogTalking.  I do love these birds!  orangehat3


23 March 2009 at 8:46 pm 4 comments

More on Iconography

Mariah of The Joyful Jewel in Pittsboro, North Carolina, asked me to give her some background on the motifs I use in my silk paintings.  I thought I’d share that information with my blog readers.

Elegant Silk Crêpe Shawl


huge2 Although the description of the original Sumerian cylinder seal says the priestesses are bringing a worshipper to god, I think of them as women supporting each other in community. The eagle (not shown in this view) is a protective spirit and has played the historic role of carrying one’s prayers to the sky. The oak leaf is a symbol of strength and longevity.

I have always had a love for the first historic cultures.  Even though I’m 30 years past youthful idealism, I still have no interest in history when it’s taught as battle dates and cultural dominance. I think that the real story is found in the way a culture uses the natural world to establish itself, develops ways of communication, and creates a vision of its place in the world. I envy the peoples for whom beauty is part of everyday life and imagine a time when people were profoundly sure that they were of the earth, not simply on it.  The stories that survive generations are those of people doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do, what the gods expect, and what upholds a family’s honor.

This piece is hand painted using the serti, or fence, method of using resist to draw the design. The silk is stretched like canvas and painted with a paintbrush using professional silk dyes. This is a work of art: no two paintings are ever alike. The dyes are set for colorfastness, the resist is removed, and the scarf is washed to restore the hand, or feel, of the silk. This one feels gorgeous. frame1

Here’s an example of a stretched piece of silk in process.  I use a stretcher frame designed and marketed by Susan Moyer.

You may see many more examples of my silk paintings at my shop at Etsy.

21 December 2008 at 3:33 pm 4 comments

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art, artists, silk painting, Etsy, iconography, symbolism, scarves, serti


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