Silk Painting and Fluorescent Dyes

I received my first samples of fluorescent dyes quite a while back from a lovely silk painter colleague of mine, Don Baker, and I must admit that they got put on the shelf with fabulous intentions….

It was only recently when someone shared a really vibrant photo on Facebook that looked luminous that Don suggested I have a go painting something similar with the dyes.

That was my challenge which I took immediately. So after buying some distilled water, I mixed them up from powder form to concentrated stock bottles:

It didn’t take long for me to get out the silk and frame and start to play around with the dyes. They proved to have very different qualities from those I had been painting with up until now but they made up for that in their incredible luminosity.

Here you can see how my first piece developed:

After being unsure as to how to proceed, I created a stripey pattern with the soya wax before painting every second stripe with a darker colour. There was quite a lot of wax on the dried piece of silk so I ironed out most of it before I rolled the fabric up to go in the steamer.

Ironing the soya wax out of the silk

The colours always turn really intense after steaming and this time I was in for a huge surprise. The fluorescent dyes were literally glowing.

But the best part was still to come. After I had rinsed out the silk and ironed it dry we were able to look at it under the black light we had bought.

The finished silk painting with the fluorescent dyes under black light

You can see the results here for yourself. Well, that’s hooked me and I’m already working on my next luminous piece. I’d love to hear your reactions to this creation. Thanks.

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