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!
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.
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!
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.
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 🙂
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
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.
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.
And 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 🙂
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 🙂
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.
Oak, maple and sumac were within a few of these silk scarves.
A beautiful combination of colors-a surprise actually 🙂
So real, it seems as though you could pluck them off the silk!
Interesting how different roses printed differently.
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 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!
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-some sold before I was completed with them! So enjoy the photos. I’m off to two more shows before Thanksgiving!
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!
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!