Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Silk Painting with Om and Soya Wax Part 2

So here we are bringing the om design to completion. As you have probably just read in the last post (part 1), I painted the design onto the silk fabric with soya wax and then allowed it to dry.

Next I unpinned the fabric from the frame and very gently scrunched it all up so there were cracks all over the hardened wax. I then attached it again to the frame ready for the second layer of dye.

Crinkled wax ready for the next layer of dye

And what was the purpose of doing this? Well, when you apply some more dye to the picture, the dye sneaks inbetween all the cracks and creates a wonderfully textured image. So I mixed two shades of dye and then took a medium sized brush and just washed one of the colours all over the outer area and the second one on the circle. It was repelled where it met the wax, but where it got into the cracks, it reached the silk beneath, adding more colour to it in a lovely pattern.

If you are doing this yourself at home make sure you take time at this stage to use some cotton swabs and dab away all the pearls of dye sitting on top of the wax. The reason for this is that, if you don’t, it will all seep through onto the silk when you come to the ironing stage. So just take a few minutes and very carefully wipe it all off.

The second layer of dye painted over the wax

Okay, so far so good. Now you need to be a bit patient and wait for the new layer of dye to thoroughly dry before you can start to remove the wax. With other techniques it’s possible to use the hairdryer to speed things up, but since we are working here with hardened wax, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Alright, now the dye has dried you can begin to iron out the soya wax. You can use some newspaper for this. Put a few sheets on your ironing board, lay the silk on top and then put a few sheets of paper on the top of the fabric. I use a relatively hot iron and just start to push it back and forth over the paper. Soon you will see the wax melting through. Just keep going until you have removed as much as you can. You might want to replace the sheets of paper with clean ones if a lot of wax is coming off.

At this point a lot of the wax will have come out but the silk will still feel quite stiff. When you steam your fabric, you will find that a lot more comes out onto to the steaming paper. But the silk still doesn’t feel super soft. So just fill your sink with some warm water and add a dash of gentle shampoo. This will remove the last remains of the wax. Rinse until the water is clear.

Completed picture with gold gutta embellishment

I ironed my silk dry and then pinned it once again onto the frame. You can see the results of what I did next. I outllined lots of the interesting shapes and edges with gold gutta, giving it quite a mystical look. Then I ironed the gutta into the fabric. The silk is really vibrant but the turquoise doesn’t show up nearly as well in this photo as it does here in my workshop.

I love the final look of this piece and have yet to decide what I would like to do with this piece of work. I’m sure I’ll come up with something fitting. So now it’s your turn. Why not have a go. I’d love to see what you make if you do try it out. Be sure to send me a picture. Have fun!

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September 23, 2010 Posted by | SILK PAINTING TECHNIQUES | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Change of Perspective

I love it when I have an unexpected change of perspective. And to be honest, it’s happening more and more these days.

I love going onto the various forums and listening to what other people have to say, thinking at first that I have my onw preferred way of doing things. But then, oh so gradually, I notice that what the others are saying begins to take on an allure. And then, something from deep inside of me says, hey how about giving that a try?

Those of you who know me a bit better will also know that I do like to try out new things. And so, when someone comes along with something that rattles my cage, I just have to have a better look at it. In a way, it’s just so useless to talk about things theoretically. For me, it’s about walking your talk. Have a go and see how it works.

All of this can refer to any area of life, but in the context of this blog, we’re talking here about perceived fixed ways of doing things in the field of silk painting.

And I’m sure you’ll all agree that the field of silk painting is rampant with preconceived notions about how things should and shouldn’t be done. It’s actually quite funny. All the more so when someone makes a claim about something having to be done this or that way. Then the next person comes along and does exactly the opposite, finding it works a treat. It’s hilarious.

I’ve spent a great many years using gold resist and painting my mandalas on satin silk.  And you can imagine that I’ve become rather fixed in my ways (if you’ll pardon the pun!). Yes, of course, I’ve gained lots of experience and learned some great skills along the way. However, my way is not THE way and there are indeed many, many roads that lead to Rome.

So it was really great fun for me to recently take the plunge and leap head first into the world of painting on silk using soya wax as a resist. Talk about changing your perspective. What joy! There was me, pretending my preference was for slow, deliberate brush strokes and blending of colours. Imagine how thrilled I was to cast care to the wind and splurge my silk full of paint using a big brush all over the wax! Don’t get me wrong. I still adore the gold gutta on the mandalas, but this unexpected excursion into unfamiliar waters took me right back to my sandpit days. 🙂

So just take a moment to think how that can be applied to the rest of life. A complete turnaround in the way we normally do things to bring about a complete change of perspective. How refreshing and invigorating is that?

Well, now I’m setting intention to consciously bring about a change of perspective in my life wherever I can.   Life’s too short for fixed ways.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Art For Art’s Sake….Or Is It Just Another Job?

Last night I just completed one of my latest artistic creations. I had painted a premade silk top in varying shades of pink and fuchsia and then applied some gold patterning to the front in gutta for special effect. I then sewed it together, ironed the seams and put it on in front of the mirror. I was really thrilled with the final result, mainly because it was in my favourite colours and because it was a great fit.

My eldest son was really supportive when he saw it and assured me that other people would be interested in having one, too. So I began thinking about different ways of marketing this sort of product and how to go about it all. Then came the process of working out how much it would sell for.

Now that’s where is gets really interesting. The bottom line is that I have spent a few hours creating a beautiful work of art and in order to fully honour myself and the whole process, I have to put a price label on it that boosts my self-esteem. And yet, the average person somehow doesn’t go there with their thoughts. They see a top, work out in their head what they would pay at their favourite store, and wonder why on earth I would be charging so much more…..

I wonder why, indeed.

It’s funny when you turn it all around. If I were to ask someone how much they earn per hour, then get them to add up what they would be earning doing my work, plus the material costs, they begin to look a big sheepish when they realise that it’s all fair play.

And then of course, when someone buys a piece of art, whether in a frame or as wearable art, it is to some extent totally unique and expresses a very individual energy. This is an element which needs to be fully honoured too.

In fact, it’s a very long story when you sit down and think about it.

But at the end of the day, each artist needs to work this out for themselves. Their prices will reflect their self-worth.

Being an artist I know that you can’t but help create artwork. It’s totally inbuilt. So it’s no use pretending that you can work in a 9-5 job and find satisfaction. The resentment and the lack of fulfillment creep in at some point and burst it all open at the seams. Try forcing yourself to do something else and notice how the headaches, or the sleeplessness creep in. There’s just something really huge missing. And yet how many artists are faced with the dilemma of holding down a job they hate in order to pay the bills, while juggling with their artistry after hours or at the weekend.

I would so love to earn a very good living through my artwork and know I am not alone there. Every day all sorts of issues around this topic crop up that I need to look at. It really is an ongoing process and a journey that is fascinating. And knowing so many other artists, I see them too working their way through exactly the same questions.

Lots of food for thought. And I shall continue to document this journey and the insights I gain as I move forward.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

May 22, 2010 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

And This is What the Fuchsia Top Looks Like Now it’s Finished…

So…moving on from the last post, I’m now going to let you see how I put the final touches to the top I was making in lovely fuchsia and pink.

fiona stolze, silk painting, silkandart

Tying off a small section of silk

Now I hadn’t steamed my silk yet, so I had to be very careful in handling the top. This meant keeping it well away from anything that could cause the tiniest of bloops and mess the silk. I certainly couldn’t steam iron it to remove the creases although that would have made  applying the gutta much easier.

But before I talk about what I did, I want to share something quite funny. As my fellow silk painters will

fiona stolze, silk painting, silkandart

Capillary action of the silk dye

agree, there is often an element of surprise involved when you paint on silk. And this project was really

no exception. As you can see from the photos in the last post, I had tied a small bunch of the silk with some wool, exactly where Iwas intending to paint the gutta on after the steaming. Well,  I painted the silk and stood back to admire my work. But it was then that science took over. It’s called capillary action. And what that means is that when you create a narrow space such as a tube, a liquid can then travel up through it. My husband tells me this is an effect of the surface tension. What it basically meant for me was that the bit of silk I had wanted to stay white became pink….and so I had to rethink the next step of my painting project. 🙂

I  took out one of those bamboo hoops you can use for embroidering. I marked the exact centre and then fitted the silk in place. Now,

fiona stolze, silk painting, silkandart

Applying the gold gutta pattern

some of you may know that when you apply gutta to white silk, it penetrates the fabric creating a barrier for the dye you paint on top. However, when you

fiona stolze, silk painting, silkandart

Applying the dye to the pattern

have already dyed the fabric, any gutta you apply will not act as a resist but sit on top as decoration. So I painted a small mandala pattern in gold gutta and let it dry. I could see that it had not fully gone through to the reverse due to the fact that it had been applied on top of the dye. This meant that it would probably leak past the lines. And I didn’t want that to happen to this lovely top.

So I had to hold my breath and mix some dye and get started. I used a very small brush so that the area in question would not be flooded and very slowly and carefully applied the dye, keeping it as dry as possible. Any leaks would also create hard edges which I definitely did not want. Time seemed to stand still as I worked the tiny brush, filling in the dye where I wanted colour…and then I was finished. Wow, not a bloop in sight. Oh, joy!!  I sat back, grinning from ear to ear, thrilled that it was now complete and that very little could go wrong now.

fiona stolze, silk painting, silkandart

The completed fuchsia silk top

Next step was the steaming, which unfolded without a hitch and then out came the finished item. I was jumping about with joy at that point, knowing that the end was very near. The next morning, after the top had lain and cooled for a night, I steam ironed it and then pinned it together at the side seams. A quick tension check on the machine and we were ready to go.

And there we were. Ready to go. These pictures document some of the steps involved and give you an idea of what was going on. It was such good fun. I always find that when I’m making something purely for pleasure,it always flows just that bit better than when I’m making something that has to turn out a specific way.

I’m going to be making some of these in different colour schemes and am planning on putting much more energy into silk wearables in the months to come. If you’d like to wear one of my creations, do get in touch.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and seeing what I’ve been up to. I promise to publish a photo of me wearing it as soon as the Bristol weather allows for it. 🙂

May 11, 2010 Posted by | PAINTINGS IN PROCESS | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments