Saturday, June 27, 2015

Two Hand-painted Silk Scarves

     I have completed two more hand-painted silk scarves, each 22" square, one in shades of turquoise, blue, and purple and the other deep rose with purple and pearl white. Each has been a learning experience, especially the rose colored scarf. Since I have not made many scarves (other scarf posts here). since my class last year, it is still a trial and error process. But, no complaints--I enjoy both what I learn from the errors and the challenge of making things work anyway.

     The blue blend scarf went fairly quickly (not counting the steam setting of the dyes and the chemical removal of the lines of resist). I blended blue and green to a pleasing shade and quickly covered the entire scarf using a wide foam brush--intentionally varying the shading. Once that dried, I used gutta resist to block off a wavy border and a corner feature of tear-drop shapes. The free-form border blend of colors came next (after the gutta had completely dried) followed by filling in the tear drops. Going over some of the areas again deepened the color--or using a different shade, changed the color subtly. Sorry there is no photo of the entire scarf--am in a rush, and it is too wrinkled to look decent laid out flat (how lazy is that?).

     I'll spare you the tortured tale of trial and error on the rose scarf, but again, I started by painting the entire scarf--this time in a rose color blend, both to serve as a background and to ensure that the later gutta outlining would not be stark white. Since it turned out darker than desired, I "lifted" some color with a wide brush filled with water. Then: let it dry, gutta outlines for the leaves and iris flowers, let it dry, paint layers of purple, and several different green shades in the leaves and flowers, and make a narrow purple border. Finally, I made the lily of the valley flowers with Jacquard Luminere pearlescent fabric paint (which comes in small bottles and can be squeezed directly onto fabric from the bottle tip). Keeping a toothpick in the other hand, I quickly pulled the paint up twice each time I made a flower "drop" to form the little pointed petals (as always, click on any photo to enlarge it and see more detail). The alcohol spray spots and little random whats-its on the scarf were attempts to camouflage drops of dye and other oopsies. I also wanted the variation in texture of the alcohol spotting. Overall, not bad. The color is so lovely, it's hard to hate the result.

Question of the day: What would we do without color?


  1. Really stunning work, Mary! I don't know which I like more! As for your question, I don't know. Sometimes it is the only thing bringing life to a day.

    1. I agree with you about color; it brightens my life in every way. Thank you for your encouragement; I am still a learner with silk painting, but the gorgeous color blends possible with the traditional French-style dyes make every effort rewarding.

  2. Wow, the scarves are beautiful. It is nice to learn and try new things. I have been in such a rut. You inspire me to get to work! Color is wonderful and really brightens and enlivens my days. I am definitely not a beige person. :)

  3. Jo, your "rut" is delightful, I love visiting your blog to see all your latest sketches and paintings-so creative and fun. But I do love learning new things, and playing with these gorgeous, colorful fabric dyes is great fun.