Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Latest Silk Painting Workshop Dates

Just to let you know I’ve set some new dates for silk painting. You can find all the details here.

If there’s anything at all you’d like to ask about these classes, please contact me at I look forward to seeing you soon.

June 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Help – No Feedback!

If you’re at all like me you probably have lots of outlets scattered over the internet for all your lovely handiwork. Almost all of them have some sort of system whereby satisfied customers can leave feedback for you as well as you being able to leave feedback for them. It all helps to make us accountable and build trust.

I must admit, I’m one of those people that loves to leave comments for others (as if you hadn’t already noticed) and I did that again just a few days ago when someone bought one of my bright silk scarves. Okay, so the product is ready, shipped off, confirmation email sent, feedback given to them….and then what? Well, it would be nice to hear if the customer was happy with the item. I often drop them a line with the shipment saying I’d love to hear from them to let me know if they are pleased with what I’ve sent them.

But that’s not the way it always works. The truth is that not everyone gets back to let you know how happy they were with what they bought from you. Granted, you’re likely to hear very quickly if there is a complaint of any kind. But when there is customer satisfaction, we don’t always hear back.

It’s just the way it is. And this is certainly not a cue for you to go into self-judgment, doubting your abilities and feeling low. Some people are thrilled with what they’ve bought AND don’t get back. For many, many reasons. Most of which have nothing at all to do with you.

So, once again I am in that space and I know that my scarf has found a happy home and will be worn with joy. And I just happen not to have received feedback and that’s okay.

P.S. I got a huge surprise recently when I received feedback on a wonderful project my artwork had been used in. It was a coffered ceiling in the client’s bedroom with 24 silk panels with my mandalas. And that was almost a year later. So don’t ever get hung up on this. All is well. 🙂

June 18, 2010 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

And Here’s That Little Silk Clutch Bag I Was Talking About…

Remember I was talking about making a silk clutch bag completely from scratch? Well, here is some

Designing the silk panels

documentation sharing with you my process of putting it all together.  I had seen so many beautiful pieces on the internet but decided that if I was going to make one, then it had to be completely my own work. So I set about painting 2 panels that I could use as the outer fabric.

I chose some fairly sturdy fabric that would take a bit of wear and tear, as opposed to the usual satin and crepe qualities which I normally use and are perfect for painting on. I created a little leaf pattern using gold and silver gutta together with a mixture of blue and purple dyes.

Silk clutch bag outer and lining

After cutting panels of the correct size and backing them with vilene and wadding, I sewed them together to make a pouch. Next I made an identical pouch for the lining using a lovely copper-coloured dupioni silk. Then I mitred the corners on both the lining and the outer fabric with it’s double lining.

I sewed the two pouches together and reversed them again so that they were the right way round, ready for having the frame  glued on.

You start with the front and spread glue along the inside of the frame as

Completed silk clutch bag

well as along the top edge of the bag.  You then have to stuff the edge of the clutch bag up into the frame using a semi-sharp object. As I proceeded, I gained in confidence. At first I was a bit reluctant to be rough with the silk but then when I realised that nothing untoward was going to happen, I got stuck in (literally) with a lot more elbow grease.

And between you and me, I am very proud of the final result. Particularly since the fabric is totally unique.

So, if you happen to like this one, just let me know because I might just be able to make one for you too. Totally different of course.

Here’ s the original listing on Etsy.

June 16, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can I Mix Iron Fix Paints and Steam Fix Dyes…???

Believe it or not, this is one of the most common questions I get asked. It’s really important to know what you can and cant’ do with silk paints and dyes so it’s good that this question has been raised yet again as it can’t be said often enough.

So what is the answer? Well, it’s yes and no. Depending on what you are doing.

First of all, a quick definition of what iron fix paints are. They are bottles of paints for the hobby silk artist, made of pigments. You apply them with your brush, dilute them with water and fix them using a warm/hot iron from the reverse for 3 minutes. The paints sit on top of the fabric, leaving a matt finish. The silk loses some of its softness and sheen.

The steam fix dyes are acid-based, can be diluted ad infinitum and are steam fixed so that they bond with the silk, allowiing the fabric to retain its silky sheen and drape.

So basically the paints give you a quick fix. 🙂 If you dont’ have a steamer, or someone who can steam for you, then you need to opt for these.

And can you combine the two types? If you are painting with the acid-based dyes and then steam them, it is possible to add some iron fix paints afterwards which you would then iron to fix. So create your artwork with the dyes, steam it, and then add highlights with some favourite iron fix paints but don’t put it near the steamer, whatever you do!

What you musn’t do is paint with both the iron fix paints and the acid-based dyes and then try to steam the silk. This will just get really messy. And ruin your artwork into the bargain. The paints cannot bond with the silk and so leak all over the paper and down through the layers.  They will also leak over your artwork and mess it up. You will get pale and blotchy patches where the paint was originally applied.

And remember that you cannot iron steam fix dyes into the silk. They will wash out in water as I found out much to my surprise in the very early days.  I had a couple of bottles of what I thought was paint. I lovingly painted a picture and carefully ironed it for 3 minutes, thinking I was fixing the colours. When I held it under the tap, a constant stream of vibrant colour gushed out of the silk and rushed down the plughole. Lesson learnt.

Please always check at your supply store what you are buying. Read the bottle label or ask for assistance in buying the right kind if you are unsure.

And don’t worry if things do go wrong. It happens to us all.  And you won’t be so quick to do it again so it’s a very effective way oflearning.

Happy painting. 🙂

June 10, 2010 Posted by | SILK PAINTING TECHNIQUES | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments