Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

What a Beautiful Silk Mandala Cushion

You know, I firmly believe that there is a blossoming artist latent within each and every one of us. I see this confirmed every time people who have no previous experience come to me and create amazing art work.

I wanted to share this great example of what a class participant can achieve with complete trust in the process sprinkled with the willingness to let their inner artist speak out. This lovely cushion was painted by Penny Lawrence who was completely new to the concept of silk painting with resist. I guided both her and Amelia Fo through the process of using gold gutta to create the bones of the mandala and then afterwards they allowed their intuition to show them the colours that would allow their design to come to the fore.

Since we were only working for one day, we managed to speed up the natural drying process of the gutta using hairdryers. Under ideal conditions you would leave the gutta to dry overnight. As the dyes were applied, the beautiful designs really came to life. Afterwards I rolled the pieces of artwork

Amelia and Penny applying their gold gutta designs

up in paper and placed them in the electric steamer for a 3 hour bath to fix the dyes permanently into the silk. This makes them light and water resistent and gives the dyes a beautiful radiance. Penny chose to have her mandala panel made into a cushion with a dupioni back panel with zip.

It’s always fascinating to see how totally different all the mandalas are that the students create. Each one tells its own story and expresses a completely different energy all of its own. When you begin to look into the colours and the shapes, you can start to understand what the image is trying to say and see that it is a mirror image of your self.

Amelia Fo painting her mandala

I think you’ll agree with me that the end results are more than pleasing. And I know that Pennyand Amelia think so too. 🙂

I have posted a few more photographs of these two ladies at work on the Facebook Silk & Art page which you can find here. Just scroll down until you find the relevant post.

If you’d like to join me to create your own mandala, please have a look at the details on the Silk Painting Workshop Dates page.

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April 6, 2010 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , , , | 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: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=41664645

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

Which Silk Quality Can I Use?

I often get asked by people which is the most suitable silk quality to use for silk painting. What I am sharing with you here is based on my personal experience over the years.

Generally light-weight silks are used for all silk painting and crafts. You would look for a medium-weight or heavy-weight if you wanted to make some quality, long-wearing clothing, such as a bride’s dress or a suit. I will be looking at silk weights in another post.

To answer the question in this post, the most important thing to know would be what you are intending to make. My personal favourite for wall hangings and other pieces which are meant to hang free and “float” is definitely pongee. It has that lovely wafting effect and is almost see-through depending on which quality you use. When you buy printed silk scarves, they are often extremely thin and this doesn’t allow for the same colour intensity as thicker ones. When I paint silk scarves, I don’t use anything under 8mm (momme – see upcoming post) and actually prefer to go for a 12mm for extra quality and still be able to use gutta.

satin silk background

Mandala Cushion on Silk: satin silk background

The mandalas that I mount and frame are all painted on satin silk, the Queen of Silks. It rightly deserves that name as it has an illustrious sheen, literally outshining all other silks I have worked with. When I have steamed a silk mandala, I don’t rinse the silk out until the bleeding stops, as with other items which are to be worn. This is because it is to be framed behind glass and so there will be no liquid, steam, etc coming into contact with it, nor will it be in contact with skin or other light-coloured fabrics. The disadvantage to washing out satin silk is that it slightly loses the beautiful sheen and most importantly, if there are any tiny creases, I cannot remove them with the iron. They simply “iron in”. So, for me, this is definitely not a quality to wash, only dry clean. Other types of silk can be washed by hand with care at your own discretion, although most manufacturers’ instructions (including mine) are for dry-cleaning only.

My personal favourite for clothing is crepe satin. This is a combination of satin silk on the top with a crepe backing. You can tell the difference when you have satin silk and crepe satin side by side. On the reverse, the satin silk is smooth and matt. The crepe satin, on the other hand, has a twisted weave. The advantage is that this quality is easier to drape and has a more elastic feel, not nearly so rigid as satin silk. My cushions are made with crepe-backed satin which makes them slightly softer.

An alternative to crepe satin is crepe-de-chine. This has the twisted weave on both front and reverse and doesn’t have the sheen of the satin. However, it is an ideal choice if you want to make gorgeous scarves, blouses, shawls, etc. It feels lovely against your skin.

Now, one or two words of caution. If you are intending to paint on these qualities, I would recommend you watch out for the thickness of the silk you want to work with. I have painted on different qualities over the years. My speciality is using gutta, the resist technique, which I will talk about in another post. After a bit of experimentation I came to the conclusion that the thicker qualities don’t allow the gutta to fully penetrate them, leaving gaps, so that you end up with a messy piece of work due to bleeding of colours. I wouldn’t recommend that you work with anything thicker than 12.5 for this reason.

I would also recommend that you wash any pongee or crepe-de-chine before you paint it and sew a garment, and this will avoid any disappointment due to shrinking. Silk has a tendency to shrink and that is one reason why people often find that their artwork turns a bit wavy after fixing due to the fact that the gutta lines don’t “fit” the shrunken silk any more.

You can pick up lovely offcuts of silk in bridalwear workshops. I would recommend only painting on them using washes of colour rather than attempt any resist and then cutting and sewing them into the desired article. Please refer to my upcoming post on silk weights for further details.

If this post has been of use to you, please let me know. If there is anything further to this you’d like to know, just ask below. If there is no comments box, click on the title of this post and one should appear. I look forward to hearing from you.

October 3, 2008 Posted by | SILK PAINTING TECHNIQUES | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Silk Painting Mandala Workshops

MANDALA POWER: Create Your Own Personal Mandala

A Silk Painting Workshop with Fiona Stolze

Current dates available: Saturday

Venue: Bristol – details given on registration.

Time: 10am – approx. 4pm

Cost: £50 including materials. Light lunch included.

Come and join in with this day workshop of silk painting and high creativity. I will be introducing you to the concept of the mandala as a tool for focussing and calming your mind. Mandala originates from Sanskrit and means ‘mystical circle’.

Each workshop will take place in a small group and so you can be sure of lots of personal attention and guidance.

We’ll start by me sharing some basic colour information and then you will learn some basic silk painting techniques using gutta (resist), silk dyes and salt. You’ll then start to create your own personal mandala on satin silk with my help. This will be purely your own unique expression. During the day I’ll be chatting to you about colours and their different and giving you lots of hints and tips along the way. Your power mandala will reveal itself to you moment by moment: a unique piece of artwork to be treasured.

I’d like to warmly welcome both complete beginners as well as those of you who have painted on silk before. Come and participate in this workshop as no previous experience is necessary at all. The process is gentle and powerful and you will find that the vibrancy of the colours effortlessly draws out the artist within you.

I will send your artwork on to you by post after I have steam-fixed the dyes. This process lends the silk a translucent sheen and intensifies the vibrancy of the colours.

You don’t need to bring any materials with you as everything provided during this workshop. Tea, coffee and water will be available. We will take a short lunch break at around 1pm.

Pre-booking is essential.

If you’d like to register, please get in touch as soon as possible. I look forward to having you with us. 🙂

Email me at info@silkandart.com and put  Silk Painting Workshop in the subject line – thank you.

**I run regular workshops. Please leave your details with me so that I can contact you with future dates.

June 3, 2008 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments