Silk Painting in a Nutshell

Most people love silk painting but when I tell them about the procedure, they are amazed at the time and mess involved.   If you want to have beautiful fingernails and hands, this art style  is not for you.  Even though I have good intentions of putting one to two layers of plastic gloves on, I have to take them off to grab hold of tape and such.  In just a few seconds,  I’m scarred with dye for a couple of days.  Here’s a little video of two scarves that I painted showing part of the process.

Silk Painting – The Pros and Cons of the Craft

Have you the desire to create wearable art or paint on textiles?  If so, I’ve found a wonderful medium for you to try.  Silk Painting is amazing!   Why do I do it?  I love it and it’s my medium.

There are many reasons I chose silk as my focus.  First, I love the outcome on most of my final pieces and second, it’s a bit faster than oil painting.  If you are serious about this craft, I can give you all the pros and cons about it.  I’ve listed them below:

THE PROS OF SILK PAINTING:

1.  It’s a very easy medium to learn, especially if you just want to throw some colors around like finger painting.

2.  The end result can be fabulous.

3.  You can create wearable art, crafts and art which can be made in to beautiful gifts.

4.  You can make money selling it.

5.  You own it and created it. People love it!

THE CONS OF SILK PAINTING:

1.  It is an expensive medium because of the cost of silk and supplies.

2.  The supplies needed are:   silk, silk dyes, brushes, resist (gutta), gutta bottles and tips, embroidery hoops to hold silk (for beginners or small pieces), a table (to paint on), solvents, brush cleaners, hand cleaner, rubber gloves and lots of them, paper, foil, tape……shall I go on?  There’s more.

My painting table

3. It’s incredibly messy and stains everything, including your hands for several days.  As I write this blog I’m looking at my hands that have been stained for two days. I was out of rubber gloves. Ugh!  I paint in my garage with old rugs on the floor.  The area where I did not cover the cement is now stained.  I’ve spilled many a bottle of dye.   Ugh again!


4.  It’s time consuming.  It take seven steps to produce each piece.  Typically, it takes me about three to four days to finalize my work.  That’s why I work on a larger table to accomplish more than one piece.

5.  I suggested it’s an easy medium to learn, but it’s very unforgiving.  If you make a mistake, you either have to throw away your expensive piece of silk, or turn it in to scraps.  If you are working with resist to draw lines and  do not cross your lines, it will bleed like crazy.  Your blue sky just ran over your flower and the yellow petals are  now brown.  Bummer!

Although I said it was easy to learn, many of you  will take the time to do all of the above mentioned.  It is easier than batik and a little less time but not much.  Someone’s got to do it and I’m one of the crazy ones who will go through the painful process because like any fine piece of art, it takes time.

Still interested?  Stay with me and I’ll be introducing the steps in later blogs to come.