Silk Painting and the Fence

Scarves ready for the soy wax

Star, my pony, has been so good about respecting the one line white poly tape fences that I put up and move frequently. This gives her new sections of grass. She happily eats within the area and there is a line at the edge where eaten to uneaten grass meet. A design is formed.

This is not new to me. Our cows had fresh patches of grass daily during the grazing season. One of the reasons they so happily followed me to pasture is that they did have this fresh grass each day. I was known around town as the Pied Piper of cows. They followed me, single file, to the meadows.

This year, as I got to my hand dyed and silk painted scarves, I decided to try something new.

Painting within the fence

My silk scarves are dyed and then painted directly with silk dyes in a watercolor technique. The dye spreads out from the brush as it is painted on the silk. My batik process has a sharper definition to it and I decided to try integrating batik into my silk painted scarves. I chose soy wax as it is a softer wax than my batik/paraffin wax mix. It can be removed from the silk much better, leaving the fabric soft and flowing.

Many silk painters use the Serti Technique. Serti means fence. Gutta, a sticky substance that resists dye, is used by silk painters in most cases, but because I am a batik artist, I chose soy wax to enclose the color.

The color is enclosed by a fenced area of wax, then the dye is painted carefully into the design. The dye will spread out to the edge where the wax encloses it and stop just as Star stops when she gets to the edge of her fence — hopefully (she always has). So I am enclosing a few pictures here of some scarves that have been dyed but have not had the design painted on them yet. Then a picture of me painting dye into an area. And finally, some pictures of a finished scarf. I plan to do more of this in the months to come, and next year. It is an even more time-consuming process, so there won’t be many, and these will show up on my blog post and in my Etsy shop, so I hope you will watch for them.

Click here to bookmark and browse my Etsy shop’s scarf section.


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