So…moving on from the last post, I’m now going to let you see how I put the final touches to the top I was making in lovely fuchsia and pink.
Now I hadn’t steamed my silk yet, so I had to be very careful in handling the top. This meant keeping it well away from anything that could cause the tiniest of bloops and mess the silk. I certainly couldn’t steam iron it to remove the creases although that would have made applying the gutta much easier.
But before I talk about what I did, I want to share something quite funny. As my fellow silk painters will
agree, there is often an element of surprise involved when you paint on silk. And this project was really
no exception. As you can see from the photos in the last post, I had tied a small bunch of the silk with some wool, exactly where Iwas intending to paint the gutta on after the steaming. Well, I painted the silk and stood back to admire my work. But it was then that science took over. It’s called capillary action. And what that means is that when you create a narrow space such as a tube, a liquid can then travel up through it. My husband tells me this is an effect of the surface tension. What it basically meant for me was that the bit of silk I had wanted to stay white became pink….and so I had to rethink the next step of my painting project. 🙂
I took out one of those bamboo hoops you can use for embroidering. I marked the exact centre and then fitted the silk in place. Now,
some of you may know that when you apply gutta to white silk, it penetrates the fabric creating a barrier for the dye you paint on top. However, when you
have already dyed the fabric, any gutta you apply will not act as a resist but sit on top as decoration. So I painted a small mandala pattern in gold gutta and let it dry. I could see that it had not fully gone through to the reverse due to the fact that it had been applied on top of the dye. This meant that it would probably leak past the lines. And I didn’t want that to happen to this lovely top.
So I had to hold my breath and mix some dye and get started. I used a very small brush so that the area in question would not be flooded and very slowly and carefully applied the dye, keeping it as dry as possible. Any leaks would also create hard edges which I definitely did not want. Time seemed to stand still as I worked the tiny brush, filling in the dye where I wanted colour…and then I was finished. Wow, not a bloop in sight. Oh, joy!! I sat back, grinning from ear to ear, thrilled that it was now complete and that very little could go wrong now.
Next step was the steaming, which unfolded without a hitch and then out came the finished item. I was jumping about with joy at that point, knowing that the end was very near. The next morning, after the top had lain and cooled for a night, I steam ironed it and then pinned it together at the side seams. A quick tension check on the machine and we were ready to go.
And there we were. Ready to go. These pictures document some of the steps involved and give you an idea of what was going on. It was such good fun. I always find that when I’m making something purely for pleasure,it always flows just that bit better than when I’m making something that has to turn out a specific way.
I’m going to be making some of these in different colour schemes and am planning on putting much more energy into silk wearables in the months to come. If you’d like to wear one of my creations, do get in touch.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and seeing what I’ve been up to. I promise to publish a photo of me wearing it as soon as the Bristol weather allows for it. 🙂