Monday, 12 April 2010

Silk Painting

My poppy picture: I'll do a little more embellishing but it's nearly finished!
Mum's lovely beaded and stitched flower

Wow,  what an amazing weekend!  I just loved the silk paintingand dyeing with  Mary Day at Knuston Hall. Mum and I had a busy time and learned much more than we expected. Not only did we come away with a lovely painted picture embellished with stitching and beads but also learned how to dye scarves and steam them in a microwave and make silk beaded necklaces!

First on Saturday, Mary showed us how to stretch our silk onto a frame and paint with silk dyes. We chose a picture from her box of designs and traced the image with gutta onto the silk. Once the gutta had dried we started painting. I really enjoyed this. As someone else remarked "It's like painting by numbers!" We chose colours from Mary's big box of dyes and had fun trying to shade the colours.

 Here's my picture before I painted the background. Mary showed us how to fill in the larger areas with dye using a dilutant to get a smooth finish:

While we waited for this to dry we had a go at dying a scarf. First we soaked a white scarf in diluted vinegar, then we folded or scruched the silk on a plastic plate, then squirted 2-3 colours of dye and patted to blend. Now for the scary part - microwaving! Actually it's easy - place the scarf in a microwave steamer and zap for a couple of minutes, rinse and dry. Voila!

Some of the ladies on the course were more experienced and so we had the benefit of seeing other techniques demonstrated too. Here's a scarf which was painted then had salt sprinkled over to create subtle patterns:

 We also went to see 2 other silk painters at work on fabric they are making into kimonos in the thatching barn:

They were surrounded by bundles of thatching straw and partially made thatched rooves in various shaped and sizes. The thatching school at knuston Hall is the only one in the country!

 Early on Sunday morning Mary steamed our pictures to set the dyes so we could start embellishing. We layed them on a frame with a cotton lawn and silk wadding then started stitching and beading. It was lovely to sit quietly and get on with regular little breaks to see what others were working on. Finally Mary showed us how to make a beaded silk necklace with a strip of silk dyed using the microwave technique.

I love these!! I think I'll be making them in every colour of the rainbow!

Visit Mary's website for details of her workshops and courses.


  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend and I love your Poppy picture.

  2. Pretty! I just love poppy's!