Sunday, March 31, 2013

More Silk Dye Painting

random wax application
Finished my first round of classes with Hellenne. I'm beginning to develop a little stash of these pieces that I hope to work into garments soon. It is quite a process (resist, paint-dye, steam, wash) and I still have much to learn.

I have learned enough to respect the designs of others, always a good thing if you like hand-made items.

detail - random wax application
 First up, an experiment using wax. The outside temperature was running close to freezing that day, so I didn't attempt to design something. I just wanted to get experience and learn about these layers that can be achieved through repeated applications of wax-then-dye. It's counter-intuitive, as the lightest items (here, white) are from the earliest applications of wax.

Celtic cross
Next is a lesson in tracing a design and shading. I chose a Celtic knot design that I enlarged about 200%. It was supposed to be a lesson in shading black, but I couldn't help myself and added some blue, then some green. These dyes are seductive.

I've since Substituted black for the green. After several applications, part of it is really black. I learned how to remove color, and I had some fun applying salt to a few areas yielding an interesting texture and lightness.

Detail from larger piece - cloudy black
I have learned that real black is difficult to achieve especially if it is to cover a large area. It worked out fine in the small spaces on the Celtic knot, but not so much on a larger piece with great swaths of black (see detail above).  It looks pretty cloudy in these areas right now. 
Cloudy black

I haven't steam-set it yet so may do something different. I might remove some of the black and then apply blue for a navy-blue. Or I might wet it and add some salt. 

Lastly is one that I simply painted with wild abandon, blending cyan and yellow, no resist. Hellenne has encouraged us to stay with black, cyan, magenta and yellow so that we can learn how to produce our own colors. I am not proficient (at any of this) but I'm having fun learning.

It may be time to incorporate these into *something* but I want to try blending some browns now...


  1. These silks are really cool, Martha. Looks like it would be so much fun to work with, not when it's freezing outside tho. Barb

  2. This looks like such fun. I am interested to see what you sew with them. Nice job!!

  3. Beautiful, Martha! How lucky that you can study with Hellenne!

  4. May jaw is on the desk. Stunningly gorgeous, all of them!!!