Taking my Silks out of the Silk Steamer

My electric silk steamer

The whole process of painting on silk is an amazing meditation but there’s always a really magical moment when I lift the package with my silks out of the steamer after they’ve been hanging in there for 3 hours.

I roll them up beforehand in paper around a long pole and suspend that in a long horizontal metal steamer with water in the bottom.Β  Then I set the thermostat andΒ  let them cook for 3 hours in their beauty sauna.

Putting the roll on the table and then pulling off the masking tape is always a moment filled with such anticipation.

Just a few days ago I had the pleasure of doing that again and so I decided to make a video of the experience and share it with you.

Just a couple of words about the steaming. When you’ve painted a piece of silk artwork, the dyes are not permanent in the fabric and if you were to expose it to water, the colours would all run out. So by putting the silk wrapped up in paper into a steam bath for 3 hours, this ensures that the chemical process of bonding happens so that the dyes are both light and washfast.

If you have used paints, they need to be heat fixed. Either way, always make sure you read the instructions on the bottle to be certain of the fixing process.

And above all enjoy.

I love doing all sorts of commission work so if you’d like me to create a piece of silk artwork for you for any creative project you have in mind, please contact me at info@silkandart.com and we’ll take it from there.

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8 Responses to Taking my Silks out of the Silk Steamer

  1. Goldie says:

    I would love to know where you got the German steamer. Can you send me the link? Your paintings look beautiful. πŸ™‚

  2. Lubica says:

    Hi, I paint on silk, but my colors are not as nice as yours. I want to start painting with steaming color. I like your steamer. where I can too buy it? Thanks, lubica

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Hi Lubica

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m not sure what dyes you use but the better the brand, the better the intensity of colours in general. Go for Jacquard, Dupont or the like. What country do you live in?

      My steamer is no longer available but the German company that made it now makes a different model – a vertical one. They are quite expensive, several hundreds of pounds. Let me kow if you are interested and I can send you a lin to the German language site.

  3. Joy Light says:

    The silks you’ve painted are so very pretty! I am in awe of the detail of your designs and the fine quality of your resist lines. The large mandala is truly exquisite! Tonight, I wrapped up a bundle to steam and I will be pulling it from the steam bath later in the evening. I liken the steam bath process to the potter’s kiln. We put our works in, hope for the best, and marvel when they arrive from the process. I think my bundle has about 20 pieces of painted silk inside! I truly enjoy watching your videos and this is the first time I am seeing your blog with the new banner. I guess when you have a video in the blog it is actually a vlog isn’t it? Well, keep up the good work!
    “See” you later,
    PS. Tomorrow will be full of washing and ironing, I’m preparing new work for an Artisan Bazaar in Portland, Oregon this Saturday.

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Joy. I really appreciate it. Wow, you certainly have a large body of work to iron. Wishing you lots of success in the bazaar and great new connections. Yes, you’re right. Doing a video on the blog is a ‘vlog’. I’m really hooked now, as you can see. It’s become a real ritual to stand in front of the camera and share with everyone.

      See you around online Joy. Take care. x

  4. Hi Fiona,

    what a delight to watch! You have quite some cool equipment -I had no idea that you have to steam the silk scarves after you painted on them. I learned something new today.
    The silks came out really beautifully!

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

    • Fiona Stolze says:

      Thanks Franziska. Yes, many people don’t know about the long steam bath afterwards. Many silk painters have difficulties finding the right equipment and keeping the right temperatures to do the fixing properly. Luckily I have a German model. Need I say more!!! Glad you like the silks. I was really happy with them. πŸ™‚

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