Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Inspired Art and Living

Many of you will know that this blog started out being completely dedicated to silk painting. I shared all sorts of silk painting techniques, did problem solving (trouble-shooting) and explained my process in the painting projects I tried out. You asked questions and I did my best to answer them based on my own experiences and things that others had passed onto me.

The good news is that I will continue to be publishing all sorts of posts around the topic of silk painting but at the same time I’ll be exploring many new avenues. I have a background in teaching and have been involved in coaching and self-development work too. So I will now be combining all of my skills and offering services that take everything into account.

The first change was to a new name. And so, for those of you  who are here on this page for the first time, welcome to ‘Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze.’

I’ve been actively involved in an intensive online course called SNCC which has taught me so much about social media and enabled me to bring focus into what I do and be more effective online. It’s an ongoing process and you’ll be seeing the latest results of this when I launch my new blog very soon. I’ll be moving away from this platform to WordPress.org which will give me many more possibilities including using my own domain name. But don’t worry, I’ll be making this transition as smooth as possible so no-one gets lost on the way.

I’m really looking forward to sharing this with all of you and hope that you will continue to follow me on my journey as a silk artist, teacher and coach. Thank you.

Do you  have two seemingly different areas in your life that you’d love to bring together so that you can work with both of them? I’d love you to share your thoughts here.

February 2, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silk Painting Competition – Paint a Mandala

This blog post is all about having a bit of fun and having the chance to get a nice reward for it into the bargain. And that can’t be bad.

So here’s what I want you to do.

I’m publishing here one of my mandala templates. In fact I published this in my newsletter quite a few months back but I decided that these templates would be of more use if I published them directly online for everyone to access.

All you need to do is right click on this image, ‘save image as’  and download it to your computer. From there you can print it out and create a lovely

Free mandala template

piece of artwork from it. Obviously I would love you to paint it on silk but if this isn’t your forte, why not just trace it onto paper or any other medium you use, and colour it brightly as it takes your fancy.

Next, take a photo of it and send it to me at info@silkandart putting ‘Mandala competition’ in the subject line. I will post every entry that is submitted to me on this blog.

And to make it even more interesting, I’m going to select one of them and the person who painted it will receive a pack of my mandala greeting cards as a gift.

Does that sound like something you’d like to do? Remember, you can use any medium you like – felt pens, watercolours, oils, silk paints, or crayons. I’ll accept anything you choose to work with.

So how long do you have to submit your artwork? Until Friday February 18th.  I’n really looking forward to getting email from you and seeing what you’ve created.

And in the meantime it would be great to hear from you if you’ve painted mandala artwork before. How was it for you? Please share your experiences with us.

 

N.B.: I just wanted to point out that you are very welcome to use this free mandala for your personal use. Please do not use it for commercial purposes. Thanks so much.

January 30, 2011 Posted by | COMPETITIONS | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to do Silk Painting on a Shoestring Budget

How many of you sigh when you hear the words “silk painting” and think that it’s something that you’re going to have to dig deep into your pocket for? Well, in a way you could be right but actually you might be quite relieved to hear that it’s possible to create some fabulous work without having to break the bank. This article is going to talk you through how to do silk painting on a shoe string budget.

And this is what you need to do:

Buy yourself a piece of silk yardage  that you can paint on. One quite good way to do this is to buy a large blank square scarf and divide it into four so that you can make 4 smaller pictures. You might be lucky enough to have a bridal outfitter’s near you that you can visit and barter with for lovely silk off-cuts.

You’re going to need some sort of frame to stretch the silk on. Special frames for silk painting can be costly, so what I would suggest is to go to your local DIY shop and buy 4 lengths of wood which you can nail together to form a square or rectangular in the desired size.  You don’t need to invest in those 3-pronged pins at the start. Drawing pins would make a great substitute. For more info have a look at a video I made on how to stretch silk on a wooden frame.

Pin your silk all the way around the frame, making sure that your fabric is quite taut as it will tend to sag as it gets wet during painting.

As a beginner opt for the small bottles of silk paint which you can heat fix with your iron afterwards. Any watercolour brushes are perfect for applying this so have a good dig through your art materials and see what’s already there.

Now depending on what you’d like to paint, you might want to buy a small bottle of gutta which creates the lines that give structure to a silk painting. When you’ve drawn the lines you want onto the plain silk, let them dry and then you can get out the paints and silks and have a ball. If you choose to just use the paints on their own, it’s important to know that they flow freely on the silk. A great effect for this is the salt technique. Sprinkle large grain salt onto the very wet paint and just watch the wonderful effects manifest before your eyes as the pigments get drawn out.

And for those of you who love to mess and splash, how about laying out some plastic sheeting, wetting the silk and then scrunching it all up before sprinkling different paints on it. When it’s dry, just iron on the reverse to fix the paints. The great thing is that you save on a frame. It’s really important to remember to buy the paints for now as you can fix them easily with your iron.

So please don’t think you have to go spending huge amounts of money to be able to indulge in silk painting. You don’t. But remember that after the first attempt you are most likely to get hooked…..so beware.

I’d love to hear back from any of you have tried this out for the first time. Did you manage to use things that were lying around? What creative ideas did you come up with?

* This article first appeared on the UKHandmade website as a winning article in a competition they ran. The above version has been adapted.

January 20, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Unfinished Silk Mandala – Seeing it as a Reflection of Me

This afternoon I went up into my attic studio and decided that it really was time to completely declutter and tidy it all up. I recently pulled so many things out of boxes and shelves when I was picking some items to put in a friend’s shop in Glastonbury. And, as is my wont when I have just abandoned the space after an excavation, I left it looking as though a bomb had hit it.

This occasion was no exception whatsoever.  But it has never bothered me because I know that I will always go back in and enjoy putting things back in place, exploring nooks and crannies that I haven’t looked into for a while and getting inspiration from all the things I find there. Literally exploding with creative excitement.

And then I bring the space into a state of real tidiness and order ready for the next work session.

However, this time is a bit different in that it’s New Year and I would like to get to grips with all the piles of artistic chaos and bring some sort of new order into it all, symbolic of me changing direction somewhat and bringing in new forms of expression.  Luckily I was reminded by a lovely friend Franziska San Pedro to take photos before I got stuck in. Strangely that’s something I always do with great delight, but it’s more linked with the creative process, documenting my steps and not looking at how messy things have got. So the photo here is sort of taking a new direction in that it reveals my mess in its full glory.

Many of you who follow me both here and on the Silk & Art Facebook page will have seen the one I am talking about here. I started it a few months ago and then about half way through, I placed it to one side and left it sitting there.

I sat down and had a good look at it. It is the very first mandala painting I have done with a mantra on  it, something I had been wanting to do for such a long time. ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ runs around the outside in gold letters. This is an ancient Sanskrit mantra roughly translated as ‘the jewel in the lotus’. It is claimed that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained within this one mantra.

As I painted it, I listened to a beautiful rendering of this mantra on a CD I bought a few years back, which had been brought over from Nepal.

And so why did I not complete it? I think there are many reasons for that. Often when I am in the process of creating a painting, the events going on around me play an important part in its make-up. I see these artworks as a barometer of where I am in life at the time.

These paintings really take on a life of their own and this one was no exception. Firstly, they let me know how they want to be and the sooner I get out of my own way and allow this, the easier everything flows. Secondly, they know what energy they need and tell me when it’s time to get out the brushes and continue the work. They determine the pace. And thirdly, they know that it’s sometimes wise to wait in order to find their true expression.

I hadn’t felt drawn to do any more with it over the past months as I had entered a space where I was feeling the need to redefine myself in many ways. And yet today, when I took it out and saw the unfinished work, I realised that this blank canvas, so to speak, was showing me that I had work to do. I do indeed have work to do and am excited at what this year has in store for me.

So I feel resolute about clearing out what has become obsolete in my workshop space and feel brave enough to part with many things that have simply run their course. And this mandala will be an expression of the new space I am moving into energetically. I look forward to seeing it in all its bright colours and vibrancy. I know now that it will be bright. A reflection of the new me for this year.

And on that note I’d like to ask if there is anything you are looking forward to this year? I’d love to hear what lies ahead for you and if you have any unfinished business like me.

Happy creative 2011

January 3, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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

Chakra Mandalas as Greeting Cards

While I lived in Glastonbury a few years back, I created a series of 7 chakra mandala paintings which I never really got round to ‘launching’  in any way. Those of you who are artists will know exactly what I am talking about. You have this urge to keep creating new art, yet don’t always have an outlet for it. So it tends to accumulate and pretty soon you run out of wall space. I don’t know about you, but my house is well-adorned with framed mandalas of every hue. Upstairs, downstairs, through the hallway….

So, back to the chakra mandalas…I had them photographed and began to post images of them but never took any steps to try and market them in any way. Until recently that is. I posted them on RedBubble and then on my Silk & Art Facebook page. And it was then that I decided to do a small run of them as greeting cards to see what sort of reception they got. The good news is that they are being received very gracefully. 🙂

So I shall continue to sell them in sets of 7 for the time being as laser prints in small runs at a time. It is only when the sales reach a certain number that I take the plunge and get lithographic printing done for a large run of a minimum of 1,000 per design.

But things are fine like this for the time being. I wanted to share with you that I now have a listing for the set of 7 chakra mandala

Fiona Stolze Set of Chakra Mandala Cards

Set of Chakra Mandala Greeting Cards

greeting cards on my Etsyshop. If you’d like to have some, pop over and have a look:  www.etsy.com/silkandart

And I can hear some of you wondering what on earth chakras are….Well, chakras are energy centres in our bodies, like wheels of spinning energy. There are 7 main ones, linked to different areas of our body and associated with different colours, organs and key issues. So contemplating these images can help to restore any imbalances and energise us in those areas where our energy has become sluggish and blocked.

In a nutshell these are the correspondences: red is the base of the spine linked with issues of stability and security; orange is the sacral chakra linked to relationships and sexuality; the solar plexus is yellow and associated with will power; green is the heart energy connected with unconditional love and acceptance; sky blue is for the throat and expression of personal truth; indigo is the third eye connected with deep insights and understanding; and amethyst or purple is connected with the crown, a sense of oneness with all that is.

One way that you can use these cards is to contemplate a particular chakra and colour to enhance that quality in your life. For example, if you are feeling insecure, red (the base chakra) can energise that area and dissolve the imbalances you are experiencing.

Always go with your gut feeling to find out what colours will benefit you. And allow their energy to harmonise your life.

July 7, 2010 Posted by | SILK & ART PRODUCTS | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In-Depth Interview with Me (Fiona Stolze) in the UkHandmade Blog

Hurrah! I’m rich and famous now. Isn’t it great when other magazines and blogs run features on you? Well, you can imagine how thrilled I am that UKHandmade are doing an in-depth interview with me in their blog. If you read the earlier posts I made, you’ll

Fiona Stolze hand painted silk scarves

Medley of handpainted silk scarves

know that it follows on from a competition they ran which I was joint winner of. We were asked to submit an article of no more than 500 words on a topic relating to arts and crafts. Obviously I wrote about silk painting and how easy it is to start it without digging deeply into your pocket.

My article will be appearing in the Autumn edition of their online magazine but in the meantime they are doing a feature on me. How fabulous is that!!

So, here’s a link over to the post.

In-depth interview with silk painting artist Fiona Stolze.

I must admit, I’m really thrilled with the way it looks. Makes me feel like a real celebrity. Another one to add to the CV. 🙂

July 7, 2010 Posted by | AWARDS AND ACCOLADES | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

April 6, 2010 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mandala Friends’ Gallery – January 2010

Welcome to the Mandala Friends Gallery, January 2010. For some background information on what this is about, please have a look at the Mandala Friends page.

Here are the entries that were submitted this month. They are from 3 school boys who attend the State Middle School for Boys in beautiful Lindau down at Lake Constance (Bodensee) in the south of Germany. Their names are Pascal, Nico and Markus, and they are in class 6b. Their teacher is Nicole Schielin. It was Nicole who gave the boys the mandala to colour in school and then sent them on to me in Bristol. Thanks to all of you. Some mandala cards are on their way to Germany as a thank you for taking part and setting the ball rolling.

Enjoy the artwork.

Marcus' Mandala - class 6b

Nico's' Mandala - class 6b

Pascal's Mandala - class 6b

January 21, 2010 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , | 1 Comment