Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

And Here’s the Mandala Cushion I Made…

Here we are , following on from the last post I made. This is just to show you the cushion that I created from the bordeaux mandala panel I made. I sewed the orange dupioni panel against it and voila. It’s now in my Etsy shop so if you’d like to take a look, here’s the link:

February 28, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , | Leave a comment

Making a Silk Cushion: experimenting with gutta

Just recently I played around with an idea and so I wanted to share it with you here in this article.

I had bought some off-cuts from a bridal shop a while back (which is an excellent tip by the way ๐Ÿ™‚ย  and wasn’t quite sure what to make them all into. I don’t know about you, but I adore fabrics. Especially gorgeous, brightly coloured ones. Whenever I go into aBordeaux Silk Cushion shop where there are shelves of silks, cottons, etc. my heart lifts and I get a little flutter in my stomach. It’s so exciting. My mind gets flooded with countless things I could do with them all. And there just aren’t enough hours in the day for all of that. So a bit of focus is needed now and then.

Anyway, back to the bridal shop off-cuts. Normally the fabrics you buy from there are going to be much heavier than typical silks you would paint on for many reasons. And one of the drawbacks for me, since I mostly work with resist, is that once you go beyond a certain mommes value, the gutta cannot penetrate the silk and create a barrier for the silk.

Well, one of the pieces of silk was thicker than what I would normally work with Bordeaux Silk Cushion Coverusing resist. So I decided to experiment and use gutta anyway and work with the effect. I mixed up some very pale pink by combing a small amount of red with clear gutta. I then applied the pattern to the panel and let it dry. I then painted over it with bordeaux dye and waited to see how the gutta would react. It wasn’t properly in the fabric and so the dye bled through in many places and the gutta itself began to dissolve which is pretty much what I expected. I then left this thoroughly dry over night and steamed it the next day. Then I stretched the panel on the frame again and embellished it with gold gutta. I must say, I was rather pleased with the end result.

Now I’m going to sew the panel into a cushion cover with vibrant orange dupioni on the back. And my verdict: definitely something I will repeat. Why not have a go yourself and let me know how you get on.

February 25, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mandala Friends Gallery – February 2010

This month we only had one submission of mandala artwork and this month it wasn’t the mandala template from the newsletter. It was sent in by Michele Drivon, an Alexander Technique teacher from the North Carolina area who was inspired to paint her own mandala.

Mandala painting by Michele Drivon, USA

Michele receives a 20% discount on a pack of mandala cards, a mandala cushion cover or a mandala panel to be sttetched on a frame. Here is her painting for you to enjoy and hopefully it will inspire you to send in your artwork for March’s edition. Enjoy Michele’s work and happy painting.

February 19, 2010 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , , | Leave a comment

Golden Orb Spider Silk Fabric

I just had to share this photo with you that I found in an article in Wired Science, September 2009. It’s the world’s only piece of golden fabric spun from the silk gleaned from large golden orb silk spiders in Madagascar.

Stunning isn’t it and all the more so when you read some statistics linked with its making –

  • the silk from over 1 million wild spiders in Madagascar went into it
  • 70 people spent 4 years collecting them (the spiders) from telegraph poles ๐Ÿ™‚
  • each spider yielded around 80 feet of silk (collected by a team of 12 people)
  • the piece of golden fabric is 11 foot x 4 foot

It takes spiders about a week to regenerate their silk so when they were released back into the wild after they had been ‘milked’, everything was back to normal pretty quickly.

Scientists are working hard to replicate the spider silk which is incredibly elastic and comparable to steel in strength at the same time. But cooping spiders up together to go into mass production isn’t an option according to the article. “Unlike silk worms, which are easy to raise in captivity, spiders have a habit of chomping off each otherโ€™s heads when housed together”.

February 16, 2010 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , | Leave a comment

How To Avoid Getting Dye On Your Gutta Lines

As if it wasn’t enough working at creating your gutta design without any hitches, but then you have the task of applying the dye to complete the picture. It’s true that you can achieve really great looks by just putting in a minimal amount of effort, but sometimes when you go that extra mile, your artwork just looks so much better.

One thing you have to take into consideration when applying your silk dyes is the possibility of the dye discolouring the gutta so that it’s only partially or not at all visible afterwards. I’m talking about the coloured and metallic guttas here which don’t like being painted over very much.

I wanted to share with you my experience. I used to draw my gutta lines and then leave them over night to thoroughly dry. Then next day I was always keen to get on with the painting and sometimes got a little too excited. If I wasn’t careful enough with my brush, I would get some of the dye on my gutta which immediately made it become dull and lose its sheen. This wasn’t something I was able to remedy afterwards by putting some more gutta on top. This can be a messy procedure anyway and it always looks as if you’ve been trying to give your work a make-over.

But then I came up with the following idea. Whenever I needed to do a lovely wash of colour and the gutta was “in the way”, I turned over my frame and applied the dye from the underside. This gave (and still gives) me a lovely flowing look and left my gutta lines completely intact and bright. All I do is place 4 juice or milk cartons underneath the corners of the frame and I’m ready to go.

However, I don’t recommend using this all the time. I have found that my detailed precision work on my mandalas looks better when I have painted right way up. I would suggest keeping painting on the reverse for “messier” painting. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope this has helped and let me know how you get on.

February 16, 2010 Posted by | SILK PAINTING TECHNIQUES | , , , | Leave a comment