Category Archives: Silk

Hand painting Silk

People love color! And hand painting and dying fabric offers numerous ways to bring color to fiber. My heart is very much with my eco-printed silk art. However my many years of painting cannot help but be enthusiastic about my first love of hand painting.

When I began to work with fiber art-silk predominantly-it did not take me long to realize that there are as many ways to put color on silk as there are to put paint on canvas!

Hand painted Silk

Block printing, screen printing, hand painted, hand embellished, detailed, abstract….all play a part at some point in what I create with silk.

Drawing and Painting

My tools are simple. Wood stretcher bars, eye screws, elastic and clips.  For a hand painted design, I’ll first stretch a silk piece such as a scarf onto the frame. I’ll use a resist which to free hand draw my design onto the silk. The resist acts as a dam of sorts-containing the liquid dye within its boundaries so an artist can create a particular image.  The end result can be anything from super realistic to whimsical to abstract.

Applying the dye
Cherry Blossoms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting on Silk

People are intrigued with artist  demonstrations and  rightfully so. Nothing is more fascinating to watch than a painting of any kind, come to life as they watch.

Watching a work being created is an experience that cannot be duplicated simply by looking at a finished piece with no knowledge of how it came to be. I have noticed that people do understand painting. A canvas, paints, etc are in the experience of most people. But painting on silk is not. There is a huge difference between the cheap scarves created in masses with digitally imprinted designs vs an artist’s  one of a kind handpainted scarf!

 

Peacocks on Silk
Red Poppies
Hand painted horses on silk

To add to the zen like feeling of slowly hand painting on silk and watching the dyes spread out onto the silk as if pulled by an unseen hand, is the ability to take it outdoors. I work with my ecoprinting outside all the time, spilling out onto my silk studio deck. And when those moments click into place, an artist truly has it all.

The Silk Thread Studio from garden
Working Summer Day at Silk studio

Silk Jewelry

I have had people refer to my hand painted scarf clips as jewelry so that’s what I will call them!  I make these unique little pieces as time permits. They are an alternative to traditional scarf clips that often come with a pin setting that pokes holes in delicate silk. My lightweight jewelry pieces are just 1″ in diameter and on the back is a 1″ diameter magnet. Putting the fabric between the alloy and magnet keeps the piece firmly in place…works with the silk scarves of course and can also pin the scarf magnetically to clothes 🙂

Handpainted silk scarf clip
Handpainted silk scarf clip

I cut pieces from my hand painted and eco-printed silk and attach them to the metal alloy-called a bottle cap design- and top with an epoxy dome. Note the tiny hole? It can be used as a necklace as well!

But I didn’t stop there! Collecting driftwood, I sanded, drilled and inserted magnets into the back with the same “no holes” concept and they are beautiful on my eco-scarves.

You can find more on my site of course http://www.TheSilkThread.com

Or if you want to be adventurous, check out my Amazon store! 

1" scarf jewlery
1″ scarf jewelry
driftwood scarf clip 1
driftwood scarf clip 1

News from our Working Artists studios!

Early Spring (March), 2016

March and there is SO much going on. Many art shows and horse shows coming up this spring. We  love to show and tell so scattered throughout this newsletter are some of the many art pieces we created for our collectors.
Also meet our newest family member, Bella, our baby alpaca. Theresa is already deciding what to do with all of her fleece when she is sheared the end of March.

What’s Happening:  Shows where you can find us, as vendors or on the grounds with our easels   (Remember to check back with us on our calendar as sometimes this changes)

March 12 Triangle Farms C horse show, Hunt Horse Complex, Raleigh, NC ! Look for us on just Saturday, March 12 at the show! At the Hunt Horse Complex. We’ll be there with portraits and silkwork (oh the horses!)  http://www.trianglefarms.com/

March 17-20  Triangle Farms A horse show, Raleigh NC    Steve will be at this show part of the time with his paintings. Check with us for the dates!  http://www.trianglefarms.com/

March 18-20  Spring Carousel Gift Market  Raleigh, NC, At NC fairgrounds, Jim Graham Building  Theresa will be there with her all of her silk art. https://www.facebook.com/springcarousel

March 23-26  You will find us at the Spring Premier Horse Show at the Hunt Horse Complex in Raleigh, NC.  Portraits, paintings and silk art in our indoor booth!
http://www.raleighspringpremier.com/

April 23 Bynum Bridgefest!  A one day art and craft event (on the Bynum Bridge) between Chapel Hill and Pittsboro, NC that meshes with Earth Day.  Come see Theresa with her fiber and silk art!   http://www.bephilarthropy.com/

April 30:Cary Spring Daze!  Long URL to a long established one day art and craft show held in a beautiful park in Cary, NC!  http://www.townofcary.org/Departments/Parks__Recreation___Cultural_Resources/events/festivals/springdaze.htm

May 6-7: The Handmade Market    We’re still waiting to hear back on this art and craft event but if it’s a go, Theresa will be there with her silk and fiber art! http://www.thehandmademarket.com/site/

May 21 & 22 Keswick Horse Show: Like last year, Steve will make his annual jaunt to the Keswick Hunt Club (in Virginia) and can be found around the grounds with his easel painting the scenes at the show!

May 20-22  Artsplosure  A very busy, super fun art and craft show in downtown Raleigh, NC. Theresa will be there with all of her fiber and silk art! http://artsplosure.org/

Well that’s probably enough to keep all of us busy! There will be our long time horse shows in June, July and August including the 2 weeks at Blowing Rock, NC and possibly  some Virginia shows. YOU can easily keep track of where we will be through our Facebook pages!

ART classes and workshops (March-August)
These are classes held at our studio location and others. If you would like us to set up a workshop with your art group, just drop us a note. Sign up for our separate art student academy newsletters that are just for our painting students!
Theresa is teaching some new classes with the Vance Granville Community College (http://www.vgcc.edu/coned/personal-interest) in the Personal Enrichment program, including some Heritage Programs coming up. Make sure you are signed up for our Art Student Academy newsletters to stay on top of all art classes!   http://artstudentacademy.com/

SHOP with US!
A great landing page to branch into the areas we have that interest you is http://www.OnRoadArtists.com  From there you can read our blogs, see what we are painting and so much more! But additional locations are below:
Theresa’s  portraits are online, is: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mtheresabrown
Theresa’s abstracts and silk art: http://www.DreamHorseArt.com….go to the shop section to see what is available!
Visit Steve’s store with his paintings is:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/sfilarsky

To reach us, all you have to do is go to ONE page:
http://www.OnRoadArtists.com
There you will find links to our blogs, Facebook pages, various websites, phone numbers and emails!

New work images posted regularly on our Facebook pages! Watch for our updates!
Until next time!
Theresa and Steve

Eco-printing, driftwood and working in the Silk Studio

Late winter and I’m ready for spring. Leaves on the trees, flowers…that kind of spring!  Some of my silk art I can create inside, in the warmth of my small studio (my cabin) But others I have to create outside. 30 degrees is cold when your hands are submerged in water and winter gloves are not an option.

Silk Studio in late winter
Silk Studio in late winter

 

 

 

 

But March art shows are coming and today I’m moving my work space out to the tables on the deck as the temperatures should finally be kind :-). I alternate between my hand painted silk and my eco-printed silk.  A recent trip to gather freshwater driftwood from a lake shore inspired me to create a few wall hangings.

Driftwood hanging1
Driftwood hanging1

20160225_113541_resizedAnd you have to love the random patterns of eco-prints from Mother Nature.  Raw silk, gathered leaves and gathered driftwood-all re-purposed into new, beautiful artwork.

These two images are shown hanging on my tobacco stick fence in front of my large art studio. This studio is kept separate from the silk as it is where my artist hubby, Stephen Filarsky and I paint in oils, pastels and acrylics.

Paint and silk do not work well within the same space 🙂

My driftwood is also being re-purposed for additional use in my silk work. Images coming soon.

These wall hangings and my newest painted silk creations can be seen in two shows this month:

The Spring Carousel Gift Market in Raleigh, NC  March 18-20. The following weekend is the Spring Premier Gaited  horse show in the same general location-the Hunt Horse Complex March 23-26. Good place for my horse scarves 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother Nature’s Colors in eco-printing on silk

My last “batch” before leaving for a trip to Oregon earlier this month.  Grinding, then boiling cochineal bugs and laying out plants on silk….all part of the long process!

Laying out the plants
Laying out the plants

 

Cochineal extract
Cochineal extract

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the results? Oh my, what fun! 🙂

Collage of Mother Nature's colors
Collage of Mother Nature’s colors
Detail of an eco-scarf.
Detail of an eco-scarf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close up of vegetable plants on silk
Close up of vegetable plants on silk
Bella watching the silk dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost 3 weeks in the Pacific northwest and I could not leave without expanding my collection of leaf matter.  Check out the monster Big Leaf maple.  The weather promises to break, the snow is melting and the sun will make it possible for me to create more of Mother Nature’s Art 🙂

Big leaf maple
Big Leaf maple
Pacific northwest oak leaves
Pacific northwest oak leaves

Alpacas, peg looms and weaving sticks!

Way back in college, I took a weaving class and managed to squeak by with a “D”. No joke. I loved the weaving part, but the big old floor looms required threading heddles and to a poor college student who had no transportation,  the eventual yarn I purchased for the warp was too stretchy. And although I made a beautiful (to me) wall hanging for my final project, it was not of the technical skill my instructor was looking for 🙂

Enter the peg loom and weaving sticks!

Working with my peg loom!
Working with my peg loom!

So I am all about simple, easy and yet with great results! After more than 25 years as a self employed portrait artist I am way past that “suffer for my art” nonsense 🙂 So you can imagine my delight when, with no instructor looming over me (haha, a pun) I managed to make my first peg loom weaving. I am hooked. I used yarn of course but looking forward to using my silk and silk sari ribbons for something unusual!

But then, what else did I try? Weaving sticks! SO simple, so much fun and I could play “old lady” in front of the fire with my sticks in my hand, balls of yarn in the basket and Louie (my dad’s old cockapoo we inherited) on the arm of the easy chair and just eave away! I can just about finish a scarf during one Columbo rerun. Definitely through a Miss Marple 🙂

My basket of yarn with my weaving sticks
My basket of yarn with my weaving sticks

Never one for halfway measures, I added Bella to my menagerie of 2 ponies, 18 chickens and 5 dogs. Shearing will be in April when a nearby alpaca farm brings in the shearers…I better learn how to use that drop spindle if I want her fiber lol!

Bella, the baby alpaca
Bella, the baby alpaca

 

 

Nature’s colors-Amazing results from eco-printing on silk!

OK, I admit it, I’m hooked! Nature’s colors rock! After 11 days of constant painting on silk at the Village of Yesteryear at the NC State Fair (Another blog!) , I experimented with yet another technique for eco dyeing/printing and the results were gorgeous! (I admit it, I brag!)

I collected yet more leaves from maple trees  and along the roadside as well as on my own mini-farm….adding to my collection so I would have leaves when the winter came. It wasn’t hard to enlist the help of my artist husband, Stephen Filarsky! I had hoped that some of the colors of these stunning fall maple trees would dye but the colors did not migrate to the silk….yet. I’ll keep trying 🙂

Fall maple trees
Fall maple trees

Working with iron, onion skins and pecans as a mordant in different batches, well, you’ll have to see the results!

The following scarves consist of silk eco-printed with an assortment and variation (in each) of maples, peonies, mimosa, oak, roses, pear, sumac and pecan to name a few natural ingredients.

onion skin mordant
onion skin mordant

Oak, maple and sumac were within a few of these silk scarves.

Peonies, ferns, maple and roses
Peonies, ferns, maple and roses

A beautiful combination of colors-a surprise actually 🙂

maple leaves on silk
maple leaves on silk

So real, it seems as though you could pluck them off the silk!

rose leaves from various old roses
rose leaves from various old roses

Interesting how different roses printed differently.

Eco-printing on indigo dyed raw silk
Eco-printing on indigo dyed raw silk

The raw silk really takes the dye process. I had previously dyed this piece with indigo and was not happy with it-I am now 🙂

All of my silk work is being done in the small studio. At the moment I am heading off to a show and looking forward to free time after the weekend to experiment a bit more. Big show coming up towards the end of the month!

So what did I do with those leaves and berries for my silk?

We were so busy getting ready for the annual Village of yesteryear at the North Carolina State Fair that I only had one shot at a batch of eco-dyed scarves! Looking over instructions from a brief workshop, I gathered my supplies and set to work!

Home grown red clay
Home grown red clay

The dried red clay I dug out  of a nearby bank had been stored in a pickle jar.  The leaves and berries were in a plastic tub, ready for use.  Following instructions, I washed a batch of silk scarves in an alum solution for a long while. When done, I began what became an all afternoon process of laying out the scarves, applying the leaves, bundling them and boiling the bundles then leaving to “process” for several days.

My outdoor picnic table worked just fine. I had the sense to photograph each laid out scarf so I would know what worked and what did not.  It is very much a trial and error process but that is what makes it so fun!

 

 

Eventually after several days, I opened the bundles and it is very much like opening a gift-no idea what to expect! I was pleasantly surprised at my efforts. The scarves were soft, subtle and beautifully patterned. Some were not as gorgeous as others (I discovered that was indeed however in the eye of the beholder!) and some took the various natural products well!

Stirring the Soup
Stirring the Soup

 

Rolling the leaves between plastic wrap on silk.
Rolling the leaves between plastic wrap on silk.

 

 

 

 

Wrapped bundles of silk processing.
Wrapped bundles of silk processing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drying on the clothes rack
Drying on the clothes rack
Leaf imprint
Leaf imprint
IMprinted ferns
Imprinted fern leaves from my property

So the results were a it at my recent 11 day show and I cannot wait to use the leaves I am gathering now, before the winter takes them away! Right now there are some gorgeous fall colors and I am curious to see how they will dye. In the meantime, simply gathering them on a stunning fall day -my first “free” day in awhile, is what makes this process so enjoyable!

So back to snipping and storing for the winter!

Colors from Nature: Eco-dyeing from the NC backroads.

A gorgeous day, car windows down and a back road in North Carolina. It really doesn’t get much better than that!   With my artist hubby Steve in the passenger seat, we explored yet another favorite back road. This time, we were searching for particular leaves, flowers and berries to collect for my eco-dyeing with silk scarves. Just as the roadsides are awash in June with wild Queen Anne’s lace and orange Tiger lilies, in September and October they are replaced with wild Helianthus or vivid yellow sunflowers and a multitude of plants as yet untouched by the color change .  Our mini farm has most of them  but we love the fun of looking!  The same roads change by the season and this month we were in search of Nature’s early fall bounty.

 

One of our favorite back roads

Pure Spring water
Pure Spring water

Our Quest took us into Virginia where we stopped to collect the pure spring waters of the once famous Buffalo Springs Resort. Known to the Indians, then gathering fame with the Colonialists, it reached its peak of fame in the late 1800’s as a curative water for whatever ails you! Now owned by the US Park Service, it’s vast array of buildings are gone, leaving nothing but a gazebo, the always available “Lithia” water and its ghosts of the past. A fascinating history of this place can be read here: http://sovahomefront.org/_site_buffalosprings.php

 

Collecting water from Buffalo Springs
Collecting water from Buffalo Springs

We searched and collected just what we needed and were going to experiment with such as grasses, tobacco leaves and flowers, assorted leaves from oaks, maples and poplars as well as wild sumac. The leaves have not yet turned to their brilliant fall colors-that’s for another trip!

Collecting wildflowers
Collecting wildflowers
Hubby helping to gather a few flowers for dyeing
Hubby helping to gather a few flowers for dyeing

I’m getting ready for the 11 day North Carolina State Fair where I will be the silk artist in the Village of Yesteryear-a community of craftsmen and women.

 

Read more here: http://villageofyesteryear.com/
Eco-dyeing is a is time consuming labor of love! This year’s public at the NCSF will see my first series of eco-dyed scarves along with my hand painted and dyed silk designs. I love the subtle patterns left by nature. With the exception of the beautiful reds of the cochineal bug that has been cultivated in South America for centuries (and can be found here in NC), most of the natural colors are softer and less vivid. Eco-dyeing is best done when the artist can enjoy the process from its very beginning of gathering fallen leaves and berries to it’s very end with the slow unwrapping of the silks and the delight of surprise results of colors and patterns!

And finally, after I shared this post, we went to an estate sale of the contents of an old Victorian house and found not one, but two, intact gallons of Buffalo Springs water in the basement (with the 1902 work desk from the old dentist who occupied the home in the 1920’s) What a find for us! Enlarged so you can read the writing!

A turn of the century gallon of water from Buffalo Springs
A turn of the century gallon of water from Buffalo Springs

Demonstrating Silk Painting at a show

I just completed 3 weeks of shows as a vendor with my artwork-the portraits, the abstract horses and my silk scarves. I had a small set up with one of my stretcher frames for the silk scarves and worked for hours each day making scarves. It was an awesome experience to have people buying the silk scarves even before I had completed them!

Demonstrating silk painting at the National Arabian Sport Horse show
Demonstrating silk painting at the National Arabian Sport Horse show
Abstract horses in blues and browns
Collage of abstract horses
A walk with the old dog
Her old dog
Daffodils
Daffodils
Custom order
German Shepherd Custom Order
Collage of fall leaves
Fall Leaves
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Purple Horses
12027709_10205895405519408_5843023680793285048_n
The Lo-o-ong giraffe!
12037984_10205909169583501_738677156628219071_n
Koi and abstract Horses
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Here’s looking at you!

So what went out the door? Well a slew of custom orders will be going out the door but below are different examples of what people liked at the show…horses of course, followed by dogs, followed by flowers and then…so many different choices including the abstract designs with no particular design on them!

The dog above was for a vendor whose best friend loves to walk her dog…but he’s getting older and less able so it is a special gift for her.

 

 

 

 

 

As you can imagine, custom orders of both dogs and horses were popular.

 

 

 

 

 

And let’s not forget Fall leaves, Koi and the much mentioned whimsical giraffe!

 

 

 

 

My next post will be my experiences in “eco-dyeing.” I must confess that gathering the plants and materials is my favorite part…but you never know what you will get when you use nature’s bounty!