Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Revamp a Silk Scarf and Give it a New Lease of Life

I was just wondering if you have any silk scarves lying around at home that you attempted to dye and just weren’t happy with. Or maybe you’ve put some dye on them and they’re become a little faded. Well, I just wanted to let you know what I’ve been doing to one of my scarves. I’ve revamped it, given it a fabulous new lease of life. And it looks really snazzy. So how did I do it?

I simply added some new layers of dye on the colour that was already there. The one I worked on was plain blue with some white shimmers showing through. I had had it lying around for a while and for some reason didn’t really like the look of it.

So I gave it a good soak, got out the plastic sheeting and added some bright shades of blues and turquoises. The finished product was bundled up into the microwave and cooked for 5 minutes again.

Redyed silk scarf

And here you can see what it looked like when it came out. Pretty cool, eh? Well, I think so and I’m sure it’s something you could do to spice up a dull accessory in your wardrobe.

When the festive season is over I’m going to post some photos and more details so that you can go ahead and do this for yourself.

But in the meantime, have a fabulous Christmas. Enjoy your break, just enjoy being and have fun.

I’ll look forward to seeing you very soon.


December 23, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dying Silk Boxer Shorts for Fun

Hand dyes silk boxer shirts by Fiona Stolze

Silk boxer shirts - back

This has to be about the messiest, fun-est thing I have done with silk in a long time. I was digging through all my supplies (and yes, I have rather a lot of things related to silk painting in my studio) and discovered that I still had 3 premade silk boxer shorts in their original packaging. Men’s XL boxer shorts.  Well, they weren’t much use to anyone wrapped up on my shelf, so I lifted them down, took the first pair out of the cellophane and got to work.

I’ll be honest with you. I was in the mood for some light-hearted fun and so didn’t lay down any plastic sheeting. Nor did I put on rubber gloves. I randomly picked 2 shades from my dye cupboard, selected a few brushes, filled a tub of dilutant and that was me ready to go.

First thing I did was soak the boxer shorts with dilutant. Next I folded them in half, marked a spot in the centre, which I held down with one finger and then began to rotate the silk around this, forming a loose spiral. I didn’t take care that this was neatly done. I just kept on twisting and roughly pushing the silk in place until it was all in one big piece.

Next I wanted to tie it up a bit, but I had forgotten to lay out some wool. So I scooped up my twisted silk package and began digging

Dyed silk boxer shorts by Fiona Stolze

Dyed silk boxer shorts - front

on the lowest shelf behind some plastic bags for something I could use to wrap up the silk. I found some nice terracotta yarn I had abandoned a long time back when I ‘stopped’ knitting and managed to unravel enough with one hand and cut loose a length I could use to tie up the shorts. By this time the shorts had sort of loosened up and so when I began winding the yarn around them, there was no real method left in it at all.

But that just added to the element of chaos and eventual surprise I when I finished.

Okay, I managed to secure a knot and lay the package on the table. It had a very odd, abstract shape and was just inviting me to splash it all over with bright dyes. Which I did. And it was great fun. There was dye everywhere, not to mention my hands. It was such a far cry from my usual very precise and detailed work. Rather therapeutic, I might add. 🙂

Right, now all I had to do was gently squeeze the bundle to ensure the dye would spread through to all the layers hidden within. But it wasn’t going to do that and I could see lots of white areas peeping through. So I decided not to add any more dye as this would give quite a pretty look. I really love it when the white background shows through on my scarves, too. It sort of adds another dimension and brings in much more light.

One thing this squeezing did do though was to spread more dye on my hands. I was certainly doing a thorough job. Good job I didn’t have to go anywhere later on….or the next day, come to think of it.

Okay, so far, so good. I then continued with my chaos and decided not let the shorts lie so that the dye could continue to work through the silk. I just undid the wool and opened it up.

And I must admit, I rather liked the outcome. I hung the boxer shorts on a coat hanger and they are still hanging like that now. I’ll be leaving them overnight and tomorrow I’ll steam them along with some other bits and pieces I have. I might even add some gold patterning. Just see what takes my fancy.


And 24 hours have now magically passed by and in the meantime I’ve steamed, washed and ironed the shorts. You can have a look at the Etsy listing here. And as for my hands, the photograph didn’t  do them justice so I’ve not included it here. They are actually twice as intense in real life. Today’s Wednesday. Hopefully by Saturday they’ll be looking almost normal again.

I’m dying to do the other two pairs now. A project for the weekend.

July 14, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , , | 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

Creating Gorgeous Little Clutch Bags with Panels You Have Silk Painted

Now that really is very decadent. Talk about luxury. Being able to completely custom make your own beautiful clutch bag for an item that not only really catches everyone else’s eye but is totally unique. Well, the good news is that I took the plunge after years of deliberation and designed my own lovely little clutch usiing both gold and silver gutta together with a melange of purples and blues. The result was indeed a delight.

I”m going to be documenting my process in a post here on the blog for you to read.  Over the weekend I will be at an art fair having lots of fun so as soon as that is over, you will be able to read what I have to share.

So do come back to find out what happened. Even better, why not subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss out. Look forward to seeing you very soon.

May 13, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Million Dollar Silk Painting

Some of you may recognise this painting from a post I made quite a few months ago. It was entitled “How to Stretch Your Silk Painting on a Canvas in 10 Easy Steps”. I wanted to bring it out again into the limelight to show it off a little bit because it’s quite a talisman in actual fact.

Silk Painting of a Million Dollar Note

I painted it in collaboration with my husband who fancied having a million dollar note. He created the design and I painted it. It was then stretched onto a chunky canvas and now it hangs in our hallway as a money attractor. Excellent Feng Shui. Very auspicious. Especially when you hang it in the finances corner of your home. 🙂

And the great news now is that you, too, can have your very own money attractor hanging in your own home. This picture is for sale, either as a completed mounted silk picture, or as a ready silk panel which you can then mount on your own frame at home. This second option saves you money on shipping.

To order your silk picture just contact me: million dollar silk painting

March 3, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Freshen Up a Silk Scarf in 6 Messy Steps

If you’re anything like me, you may have quite a collection of silky things in yourHow to freshen up a silk scarf house. And sometimes the odd item may not look the way it did when you made it. This was certainly the case for one of my bright Jacquard scarves which had mysteriously manifested 2 green marks  not long after being made.

So I had the brilliant idea of revamping it to give it a completely different look as it was hardly used at all. The base shades were bright and middle orange and it seemed fitting to freshen it up with complimentary indigo.  It did strike me as rather a bold step, but why not have a go.

Please note that I am talking about a silk scarf that has already been steamed once and will be steamed a second time. This is not suitable for iron fix silk paints. So, back to the experiment.

The process was relatively quick and easy but extremely messy. This is what I did.

One: I laid out a thick sheet of plastic on the floor, spread the scarf out on top of it and soaked it with dilutant (Dupont).

Two: I made up two tubs of indigo. One will full strength and the other diluted 50:50 both of which I emptied haphazardly all over the scarf with great gusto. By the way, indigo really stains so I recommend that if you don’t want dark blue nails for days to come, put on rubber gloves. The process gets messy, so just keep them on. 🙂

Three: I took hold of the scarf and gently scrunched it about so that the dye was distributed over the scarf, but leaving it quite uneven with colour showing through here and there. So don’t do too much. Making it too even gives a uniform effect and here we’re going for a nice jazzed up mottled effect.

Four: I sprinkled a handful of effect salt onto the scarf and left it to dry.

Five: After a while I picked it up carefully and shook off the salt. I laid the scarf over a drying screen with a dark towel underneath it.

Six: When completely dry the next day, steam for 3 hours and rinse the excess dye out thoroughly. Put your gloves on for that again as there will be a lot of bleeding.

And that’s it. My scarf here still needs to be steamed but I am really pleased with the way the colours have turned out. It has a real autumnal look and you would never have known it was indigo on top of orange. Look at that wide palette of shades. Gorgeous.

Another very successful experiment. 🙂 If you  have a go at this, do send me a photo. I’d love to see your results.

March 2, 2010 Posted by | EXPERIMENTS IN SILK | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 🙂  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