Category Archives: Silk

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:


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:
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
Custom order
German Shepherd Custom Order
Collage of fall leaves
Fall Leaves
Purple Horses
The Lo-o-ong giraffe!
Koi and abstract Horses
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!

My DIY hanging rack from a baby crib!

DIY hanging rack from a baby crib!

Taking off the pegged top piece on rail

As professional artists, we have 2 art studios on our property. The larger one is big, beautiful and built from a torn down 1910 house!
Our smaller one is my “cabin in the woods” and was a tired 10 x 20 storage building that we renovated for additional room in our ever expanding art business!

So in my small Art studio that I use for my silk making, I needed a place to hang my scarves while I worked on them. I use an outside clothesline which is perfect for drying. But in between some stages of my techniques, I needed a place to gently hang silk without folding it or dropping it on the floor 🙂

Crib rail hinged to wood attached to wall.

The solution came in the form of parts of a free baby crib! Used cribs can be found at yard sales for next to nothing and the sides can be used for any number of creative projects!

My idea was to attach hinges to the bottom , attach it to the wall of my small studio and have it fold down from the top.  When in use, the lightweight chains would let me lower it to pretty much any height I wanted. I did not want it level, just out a foot or so from the top of the wall. When not in use, it folds back up to the wall and hooks with regular latch hooks 🙂

Small chain, latches and hinges are easily found in any hardware store!

A little paint on the wood the piece is hinged to will make it look finished 🙂

As you can see, the lightweight silk dangles easily from the rack away from the wall. It could be closed as well if I choose.
A perfect solution for everything from fabric to paper to your laundry room.

Raise the chains higher if heavier items will be hung. The ceiling is barn style so hanging this from the ceiling where the lights are was not an option-too high and the lights were in the way so this “Murphy style” rack was the perfect solution!

An easy DIY project accomplished in an afternoon or less! (Depending on the number of breaks and how long it takes you to find the tools you put down somewhere!)

Creating a “Cabin in the Woods” art studio

Sm studio renovationsWow-somehow I fell seriously behind in this blog and am frantically updating it-luckily my Store stays current and up to date. SO enjoy at least one updated post, the next one is coming!

If you’ve been following my “Small Studio Cabin” odyssey then below is an update from my “artsyJourneys” blog which is the same post but here 🙂

Making my “Cabin in the Woods” happen!
In less than 3 short months, my “cabin in the woods”project-the smaller art studio-has seen a some changes. Once I committed to the idea and stopped waffling, things began to happen!

First, because the only convenient place originally to set the 12 x 20 shed down was at the edge of our dirt/gravel driveway, I knew I had to make another entrance opening.
I also needed more light-a door at the north end or bigger windows!

Bringing in a re-modeler friend who happened to have a spare 6 ft. sliding door, he and his crew made short work of the 10 x 16′ deck and door installation!

I hired the neighbor’s son to dig the “trench” to lay electrical wire. Our big studio is on a separate meter so it seemed logical to pull power from that. Brent had a lot of help from one of our chickens the afternoon he dug it!
Our remodeler came out the next day and he and hubby hooked up the power to the small studio and I was in business so to speak! Even the simple ability to turn on lights was inspiring 🙂

Renovations in progress 20141214_094516 20141226_150020Here you see inside work

I’ll add a small stoop to the door side-I might just close it off but in the summer I know an amazing cross breeze can come through there so…still thinking!


Custom silk art experiences!

So I have just finished the 10 day Village of Yesteryear show which is an annual event at the NC State Fair in October in Raleigh, NC. Great time in spite of the long hours (10am-10pm daily) Next to me, hubby Stephen Filarsky was hand painting his custom signs-that was pretty impressive to the under 30 crowd!

Silk Scarf with Owls
Butterfly silk scarf
Dragonfly silk scarf
Gold and Red silk scarf done in the burn out technique. 8″ x 54″
Abstract Horse trimmed in gold
Cute little Papillons
Jack Russell Terriers silk scarf
Another owl scarf being completed at the show

I demonstrated techniques using resist and silk painting.  My box of silk work cocoons however was a real conversation piece 🙂 Scroll down to see additional work done at the show-some are in my Etsy store 20141029_132735 20141025_193907 20141024_135135-some sold before I was completed with them! So enjoy the photos. I’m off to two more shows before Thanksgiving!

So here I am at the 10 day Village of Yesteryear craftsmen building.
So here I am at the 10 day Village of Yesteryear craftsmen building.

Expanding the Abstract world in painting

October is already here and I am gearing up for some unusual shows!

October 16-26 is the annual NC State Fair where hundreds of thousands of fair goers will have the opportunity to come see me at the Village of Yesteryear and watch me create designs on scarves! I still have to sew my “Colonial Costume” but…I’ll get to it!

The SILK portion of my website has expanded in advance of the show and although I will have everything I have available at the event, if you are unable to come by then of course, see my Etsy store!  I have added new ties, new suncatchers….oh so many things  to photograph to catch up!

Long hours each day 10-10!

20140926_162041 20140926_162133 20140921_114047

Green and Gold silk/satin scarf
Green and Gold silk/satin scarf



Beautiful original silk art
Beautiful original silk art
Beautiful hand painted portraits of all subjects on silk!
Beautiful hand painted portraits of all subjects on silk!

Art Show Opening TONIGHT! June 13 from 6-9 pm

Opening Night!
Opening Night!

Wake Forest Art & Frame Shop
139 S White St
Wake Forest, NC 27525

Join us Friday for Art After Hours from 6-9 pm
Featuring artwork by M. Theresa Brown
About the Artist:
M. Theresa Brown is a long time professional portrait artist who specializes in realistic fine art portraits of people, animals and places in oils, pastels, watercolors and pencil. A multi-faceted artist she also has collectors for her abstract art pieces and fiber art. Together with her artist husband, Stephen Filarsky, they have worked together in the art field as Filarsky Brown Art Studio since 1994.
Theresa’s portrait works as well as abstracts and a selection of her hand painted scarves will be on display through the month of June.

NOT waiting for Spring!

NOT Waiting for Spring

Spring keeps fooling us. Since January she has popped her head in and out of her winter sleep only to curl back up and laugh at all of us winter weary people!
It’s been a weekly thing in an area where winter was mild and non-problematic last year.
So to solve the problem, I have brought Spring to me. I stretched the silk onto my frame and hand drew the daffodils with a beautiful gold resist, then proceeded to dye the flowers a cheery yellow and bring shades of green into the foliage and stems. The result is a sunny spot in a dreary day and the resolve to NOT wait for Spring!