Tuesday, August 25, 2009

cooking silk

After a long holiday weekend here in Hungary, I find myself in need of a vacation. A real vacation! I leave on Friday for Croatia! YEAH! I miss the sea so much. I love living here in Hungary but I crave the salt air! So, for a few days I will swim in the sea and inhale the salty air! I cannot wait!

Back to work and reality....today I cooked and washed my silk! And it looks good. There are many different silk painting products out there and so many methods to setting dyes. I prefer Jacquard silk dyes and products. The colors turn out so vibrant! I did a test with some products I bought locally and they didn't turn out so well. So, I will keep shipping from the USA.

My process for setting the color is a bit lengthy but I find it works best for me. I have combined techniques I have read in books and techniques learned from professional silk painters. It has changed a bit over time, much like a recipe.

If your interested in hearing what my next steps are you can read below...
  • I wrap the silk in paper, put it in a black garbage bag and set in in a dark spot for a three days. This gives the dyes time to bind with the silk.
  • Next I cook the silk! Well, kind of. I steam the silk on the stove for 1-2 hours. Then I wash it in a chemical solution that ensures the dyes won't run and wash out. This step always makes me a little nervous. I am always waiting for the dyes to wash out and leave me with white fabric. (This has never happened by the way.)
  • The next step is a final washing in detergent. I use a detergent like Woolight. Then I hang dry.
The whole process takes quit a few hours but the colors always look vibrant! Also, the resist always looks so dirty. After the washings, the white lines are bright white, which helps make the colors look extra happy!

Tomorrow I am heading to the art store to buy stretcher frames. I will stretch a piece of silk and see how it looks! Wish me luck! Photos coming soon....

If you are interested in learning how to silk paint I would highly recommend this book by Susan Louis Moyer. It is a fantastic book with step by step instructions and photos with recommendations on what products to use. I consider this book a silk painters bible.

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