Monday, August 27, 2012

Hand painted silk belly dance veils

I've been experimenting with painting big pieces of silk, for use as belly dance veils. These have been 45" x 108". The blanks are available from Dharma Trading Company, in two different weights. The picture above is the 5mm weight. My daughter (there in the picture) says it is light and floaty, very responsive, and moves with the slightest of breeze. That makes it lovely for indoor work, but kind of problematic for outdoor work where there might be some wind. It was also more likely to snag from the little pins when I put in on the frame to paint.

Here it is on the frame, with my very tall son for size reference. I paint it in sections, working from one end of the frame to the other, adding the salt as I go along. I want to make sure the edges are working wet into wet, so I spray it with water as I go. By the time I reach the end of the painting, the beginning end is already quite dry.

Here's the second veil I did, on the floor ready to be rolled up into the paper to go into the steamer to set the dye. This is the more sturdy, 8mm weight fabric. It was easier to deal with on the stretcher frame--I didn't have to be quite so careful with it, as the fabric wasn't quite so delicate.

I had my daughter try this one out too. She said she was fighting the fabric a little bit more than the lighter veil, but that it was easier to deal with when there was a breeze. And she also thought it would be easier to do some of the more challenging veil tricks with this weight. I'd say the 8mm weight would probably work better for those dancers who do outdoor shows.

Given the time and materials involved, the lighter weight veil will sell for $110, and the sturdier one for $120. But unless I get a commission, it will take a little while for these to appear in the Etsy shop. ( Why?

Because I got my order of yarn in today! Time to put away the silk for a bit, and go back to the loom...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rock Doodles and silk painting

Ok, this was more relaxing and more fun that it ought to have been. A smooth river rock + a Sharpie + some spray clear coat = a Rock Doodle. I think these could get to be addictive. No, I don't know what I'll use them for, besides leaving around to look cool. Ideas?

And on slightly more practical fronts, I'm back to painting silk scarves again. This batch came out of the steamer the other night, and is waiting to be washed and ironed. The silk in the picture is damp, so the colors are darker than they will be on the finished scarves. But I'm really liking these color combinations. I think I may use some of the same combos on some larger silk ruanas.

I'm particularly eager to see how the red ones turn out. I've had an issue finding a red dye that doesn't turn pink with this technique, and lots of people are asking for true red scarves. Here's hoping that the washing/ironing process doesn't pastel these out too badly!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Watching the scarf dry: salt method on hand dyed silk scarves

I've been painting silk scarves for the past few weeks now. First I got an order for 20 grey scarves. I steamed those yesterday, and will wash and iron them tomorrow so I can ship them out on Thursday. Then, as long as the frame was set up anyway, I decided to play in the color!

To make these scarves, I paint them with silk dye and then put silk salt on them. As the scarves dry, the salt pulls at the dye. I'm always fascinated by the wonderfully intricate patterns that result! On this last one, I took a few pictures as I was going along, so you could see the magic too.

On this first one, I've just put the salt down on the wet scarf. It has had just the amount of time that it took me to dig up my camera to get to work.

Then, it was time to ignore the scarf and let the salt do its thing.

Making progress! But I wanted more. I kept the salt in place, and waited until the scarf was quite dry.

Now, that is more like it! The colors get lighter, partly because the scarf is dry here, and partly because the salt has pulled at the dye.

Once I brushed the salt off of the scarf, this is what I ended up with.

Such a fascinating process! I love the controlled chaos of it all. I choose the colors, and the placement of the salt crystals, but there isn't any way to totally predict the outcome. Pure magic.

I'll hang the scarf for a day or so, and then steam it to set the dye. A day or so after that I'll wash it out and iron it dry. The color will lighten just a bit more as the excess dye washes away, and the ironing process will give the finished scarf that lovely silk sheen to it. I look forward to seeing the finished product.

Now...what colors should I try next.....