Vibrant, Fabulous Colour- Playing with Silk, Dyes and Salt

I had just taken my latest silks out of the vinegar solution I normally soak them in before starting my work on them and started to stretch them on my frames.

I began to tune in to which colours I would be mixing together…. the first one was going to be a real earthy mix as it was for a client who had ordered a SilkandStars package. Intuitively it felt right for them to be having some purple blended in with grounding tones.

I picked out a few bottles of dye and started to play around, adding little amounts here and there, diluting a bit…and trying them out on some sample silk. And when I got my brushes ready I suddenly felt overtaken by a great urge to just go wild. So I did.

I’ve experienced this before whilst painting. That I just totally surrender and something else takes over. But this taking over was a sort of untamed delight in just losing control. As I watched the vibrant colours spreading into each other on the silk, I kept adding more strokes until it was really sodden. I’ve played so often with salts, but this one was so wet and full of crazy brush strokes.

It just felt like that was exactly what I needed to do for this commission. And so I continued to just go with it.

It really was fun and I had to laugh as I grabbed the effect salts and started to sprinkle pathways of white granules across the purple and brown patterns.

Quite a while later when the silk had dried I began to scoop the salt granules off the silk again. And it was so lovely to see the exciting crevasses that had formed across the fabric. With salt you achieve different effects depending on how long you leave it on the silk. A shorter time will yield a more delicate look and a longer time will give you a very expansive and bold pattern.

This was a colour scheme I hadn’t worked with before. So I decided to go ahead and create a second silk, again with colours that I didn’t usually work with. This one was a beautifully light, springy mix of fuchsia, sky blue and green. Again I laid pathways of white salt crystals over the silk and kept adding more dyes.

What fun. And it was even more fun after I had steamed, washed and ironed them. I had the pleasure of being able to go out into the sunshine and take photos at the end of the process.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

If you would like to commission me to create a personalised silk for you, please contact me at and we can make it happen.

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