Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Take Action and Make it Happen

Everything begins life as a thought. All those amazing ideas we give birth to that float around in the ether are just waiting there, in seed form, not knowing whether or not we’re going to take them all the way. And indeed, many of them will remain there. In fact, the vast majority of them do.

A single snowdrop

How many times have you been completely relaxed in a total right-brain, creative space and suddenly you’ve had the most amazing idea? One that gets you so excited, you just can’t wait to share it with someone else or at least write it down on paper so that you don’t forget it. Everything else gets forgotten and this one idea just seems to consume you, pushing everything else to one side.

And then you get on with life, you sleep on it and in the morning, you get on with all the other pressing things that are in your life and need to be seen to first. What appeared to be so world-shattering the day before is now sitting there with a completely mundane air about it. So what happened?

Well first of all, let’s just get really clear on one thing. You are not alone. This happens to the majority of us.

A lack of follow-through on even the most world-shattering idea means that it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Ideas alone are simply fairy-tale castles, without substance.

It’s when you take action and make it happen that the magic begins.

So what do I mean by taking action?

This is not about putting a huge plan into place and working through it in a fixed space of time. It’s much simpler and much more powerful than that. It’s about making a firm commitment to taking the very first step.  And this needn’t be huge. The importance in taking the first step, no matter how small, is that you are signalling to the universe that you truly want this to happen and that you are willing to do what it takes.

So how does this look in practical terms? Break it down into bite-sized chunks and do the smallest possible piece that you are willing

The Dream Grows

to and capable of doing right away. If you’ve had a fabulous idea for a book, then write this down on a piece of paper and commit to spending 5 mins minimum that very day on expanding the idea further.

Some of you may smile at this as it may seem over simple. However, if you can break things down into steps that are very doable for you, then there is absolutely no chance that you will sabotage yourself. If I don’t want to do the ironing, but say I am committed to doing a minimum of 5 mins, I laugh with delight when I manage half an hour and pat myself on the back.

Set your 5 mins, achieve this and much more if you want. If not, that’s okay too. Then reward yourself for doing it. For doing it straight away and getting the momentum going. Because that’s what’s going to breathe life into your dream. And that is true inspiration.

Don’t let another day slip away without doing anything, because that’s when the life force drains out of your dreams. And then, even the best idea in the world, slips away and is worth nothing.

What first, tiny step could you take today to get the momentum going on a great new idea you’ve had? Please share your ideas here. I’d love to hear what you are planning.

February 21, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Blue and Green Should Never be Seen…or was it Red and Green?

I had actually been planning to write a second part to my post on wearing green clothing, however things have taken a different turn and although I’m still on the topic of green, I have decided to explore a slightly different question than what clothing you wear.

Red and green or blue and green

Most of us grew up learning all those delightful little ditties that we sang or chanted while playing or doing our homework. And there were always a few inbetween that sounded a little odd but then our grandmother or one of our teachers had taught us them and so we took them on board without questioning them.

The one that sticks in my mind is ‘Red and green should never be seen except upon an Irish Queen‘. I remember my grandmother saying that one again and again. Now up until recently I was perfectly happy using it even though I knew that it didn’t hold any water. I loved seeing vibrant red roses with contrasting green leaves in the garden. They went perfectly together, didn’t they?

But wait…”That’s wrong!” I hear you say. “It should be ‘Blue and green should never be seen except with something inbetween’.”

Now that’s very odd. I began to ask around and found opinions hugely divided on what the correct version should be. So I started digging to see if I could shed any light on the origin of the phrase. And that’s when it got really colourful.

One comment from an ex-marine stated that it referred to ships in the  night. If you see a red light on your ship and red on the other, the ships are travelling in opposite directions. If one is green and the other is red,  both ships are travelling in the same direction and if at an angle to each other, possibly in danger of colliding. Even worse is if you can see both red and green on the oncoming ship. Then you are headed for collision.

But here’s a fascinating suggestion. There was a film  in 1957 with Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn called “Funny Face” and a female fashion editor was supposed to have said ‘Red and green should never be seen except with something inbetween’. Was that the US fashion rule in those days? The funny bit for me is that this film is in a boxed set of Audrey Hepburn films I gave my husband for Christmas and I haven’t seen it yet. Time to watch it.

And yet that doesn’t really make sense when you look at how all shades of green go fabulous with blue jeans.

Personally I think  both versions of this saying are  nonsense because I believe that any colour can harmonise with any other one depending on how you use them.  And nature doesn’t seem to have heard of this rule at all.

Here’s a parting shot though. The Irish word for girl is cailin (with an fadda accent over the last i and it’s pronounced colleen). Is this then a slip of the tongue that makes colleen sound like Queen? This topic is turning out to be far more extensive than I originally thought and is giving me lots of new inspirations for further blogs.

But anyway, I wanted to throw this question out to you and see if you know any more about this. Which version were you taught and do you have any idea where the phrase came from? And do you flout the rule or do you find yourself avoiding green combinations as a result? Thanks for taking the time to share.

February 6, 2011 Posted by | COLOURS | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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 Gain Visibility as a Silk Artist Online

Many of you reading this are silk artists or at least have some interest in silk painting generally. And I know from talking to many of you how hard you find it to get your work seen in the huge sea of work that is available these days. It’s true that we can’t just sit back and expect people to magically find our work so it’s up to us to make sure that find those people who resonate with what we do. And that’s why I  decided to write this article. It gives you some ideas of how to gain visibility as  silk artists online.

My suggestion to you is to open an account with one of the many online galleries and start to put your work on display there. Yes, there are very many of them, but you need to browse a bit and find one that is in keeping with what you are all about. I would also suggest that you pay attention to possible fees you will need to pay. Some of them charge you a fee just for being there on their site. Others only charge you when you make a listing. Others again, only charge when you make a sale. So do some homework and see whats fits for you.

It’s sometimes hard to judge what the service is going to be like before you take the plunge and join up, so why not send an email to the contact address on the site you like the look of. Clarify any questions you might have, regarding all fees, promotion, etc. And make sure you know what their policies are regarding the publication of your artwork. You’re the artist and you want to remain in control of your artwork.

There’s also Ebay to think about as it can be utilised as an online art gallery too. Go on the site and have a look at what other artists are offering and how they are displaying their work. It’s quite easy to set up an account and start selling there. They even have weekends where they don’t charge any listing fees so watch out for opportunities to save yourself some money.

If you are one of those silk artists who also paints silk scarves and accessories of different kinds,  you might be interested in looking into artist opportunities on Etsy , where you can set up a small shop with relative ease. The big tip here is to keep a steady trickle of new listings as the newest items on the site show up in the feed and are much more visible than those you posted a while back.

For those of you who feel confident enough, you could start up an artist blog and share your projects, experiments and processes with those who are interested. It takes a bit more know-how to do this on your own, so why not get started on this site, WordPress.com and make things easy for yourself as everything’s laid out for you at the click of a button.

There are very many artist opportunities available for silk artists and the important thing is taking that first step to move your artwork from confines of your attic to the screens of people looking for attractive artwork like yours! I will be expanding on this topic in due time.

What experience have you had?  Please share here if you’ve found any platforms on which to share your artwork, whether you are an emerging artist or someone who has been playing the field for a while. Or even if you are an art lover. I’d love to hear from you.

January 26, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Buying Silk Painting Supplies at Low Cost

I recently posted an article about how to do silk painting on a shoe-string budget and not long after that a friend asked for some help on how cheap this whole thing can be.

Well, I had a look into this and came to the conclusion that you really can do it for very little money if you are prepared to just start with the absolute basics and not invest in lots of fancy equipment. Why spend a lot if you don’t really know if silk painting is going to be up your street. Wait until you are hooked (which will happen very quickly) and then think about spending on some of the more specialist products.

Okay, back to the silk painting supplies.

When you are starting out, I would recommend you buy the silk paints, not the dyes. The paints are fixed into the silk using your household iron whereas for the dyes you’ll need a steamer of some sort and it can be a bit trickier. There is one exception and that’s silkpainting with the microwave which I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Get yourself 3 small jars in red, blue and yellow so that you can mix whatever shades you need. If you’re in the USA the store to contact is Dharma Trading. And if you’re in Europe, try out Rainbow Silks. These will cost around $3.99 or £3.95 per jar.

The next item is a square blank silk scarf which you can tear up into 4 smaller pieces. If you buy a 90cm x 90cm one made of habotai or pongee 5mm, you might pay around $5.19 or £6.00, so each piece costs a quarter of that. This is the thinnest quality shops sell, but it’s perfect to get started with.You can get these at the stores I mentioned above.

Next you’ll need some pins or tacks which you’re bound to have lying around the house. And finally, instead of a frame, you can stretch the silk over the top of a cardboard box. There is a delightful little video by Yanghaiying which shows this silk painting technique.

Use any watercolour brushes you may have in the house and if you need to buy some, you can pick up a couple at very low cost from any hobby or craft store.  Old mugs or empty jam jars are perfect as mixing pots or water jars.

And finally you might want a tube of water-based resist to draw some lines with, but it’s not essential. This will cost around $2.89 or £3.75.

So adding all of that up we come to a figure of around $12.00 or £22.00. That’s enough for four  45cm x 45cm pictures, which makes each one cost $3 or £5.50. Oddly enough the US prices are much lower than the UK ones,

I hope this price list helps. It is just an approximation so you’ll need to check things out for yourself. And if you have, how did your calculations go? I’d love to hear if you managed to kit yourself out for this or less.

Oh, and don’t forget to let me now if you got hooked after the first go.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Mandala Silk Painting Workshop Date in February 2011

There’s good news for those of you who’d like to try out silk painting  in the cosy atmosphere of a small workshop. I’d love it if you could come along and join in. And here are the details:

Day: Saturday, 12th February

Time: 10am – 4pm

Where: private address in Bristol. Details on registration

Cost: £50.00

Here’s a link to the FB event page where you can find a bit more info about what we’ll be doing:

Silk & Art Silk Painting  Event

I have posted some more detailed information about these Mandala Silk Painting Workshops here on this site, so be sure to check it out.

January 21, 2011 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Psychology of Colour: Wearing Yellow Clothes (Part two)

I spoke in yesterday’s post on wearing yellow clothes about the signals you send to other people when you choose to wear yellow. And I promised to get back and tell you a bit more about our choice whether or not to wear yellow.

As I already said, I’m not a great fan of yellow clothes but there are many people who just love to wear them. So what might be the reason for this? The first most obvious answer is that we all have different types of complexions and depending on our skin hue, yellow may scream in defiance or snuggle in and complement the picture. According to seasonal skin type colour analysis , I am a pale winter type which means that yellow is a no-no for me.

There are also very many negative connotations of this colour which will affect our attitude towards it. Your skin takes on a yellow hue with jaundice or excess bile. Your teeth turn yellow through excess smoking. And we link cowardice with yellow too. But on a deeper level, there are other reasons why you or I might turn our backs on yellow tones. I already mentioned the fact that you will be very much in the lime-light wearing them, so it makes sense that we tune into this subconsciously and pull away if we need down-time and want to become invisible.

Lemon and the colder shades of yellow are linked with the intellect and left-brain characteristics such as logical thinking, reasoning, calculation and the like, so with me being a total right-brainer, it could be another reason why I don’t feel drawn to wear this colour much.

But for me the underlying reason we develop an aversion to a particular colour is because of how it is linked to things that are triggering us in daily life. Yellow is connected with the solar plexus, the seat of our gut feelings and personal will power. So as we learn to digest life’s experiences and become confident in projecting our self-image out there and engaging with others, yellow is a perfect companion for this part of our journey. It’s total absence in your life will be a signal to watch out for what you are avoiding. And the answer may  lie concealed in the area you are least expecting. Wearing warming shades of yellow can go a long way to opening us up in this respect and helping us to feel comfortable with being ourselves amongst others.

And on a parting note, yellow accessories are ideal for outfits which might otherwise be rather dull. Wear a yellow necklace or loosely tie a yellow scarf around your shoulders to bring a ray of sunshine into your day. Or even add some gorgeous yellow buttons to a plain cardigan to give it a new lease of life.

That leaves me thinking about what I can do to introduce a bit more sunshine into my life, despite my wintry complexion.  Mmmm…off to see what I can find. And what about you? Do you have any aversions or love for yellow? Do share any yellow clothing tips you have.

January 13, 2011 Posted by | COLOURS | , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Psychology of Colour: Wearing Yellow Clothes (Part One)

What a perfect day for writing about yellow clothes! It’s grey, really overcast and the rain is pouring down. But, as we all know, the sun is still there up above the clouds, shining in its full glory. We just can’t see it from where we are standing.

And that’s what the colour yellow is all about. It is pure sunshine, packed radiance to lighten up your day. So go on, have a look in your wardrobe and count how many items of clothing you have in yellow…4 or 5?…..1 or 2?……or none at all? Well, I have to admit that I belong to the ‘none at all’s’. Because I have a belief that I’m not a ‘yellow person’.

It’s one of those colours that I like on other people but just don’t fancy myself. You’ve probably got your favourites, too.  However, all of the colours in the visible light spectrum are there for a reason and their energy can be harnessed to improve all aspects of your life. You can quite literally empower yourself with colour. And yellow is no exception. It’s a warm magnetic colour like red and orange but has it’s very own unique flavour.

Let’s have a look then at what happens when you choose to wear yellow.

Sunshine yellow: You’re actually sending out a signal of joy and happiness, letting people know that you are a fun person who delights in the  pleasures of life. It can also indicate that you have a very warm nature and are easily approachable.

Lemon yellow: This shows those around you that you are a bit of a left-brainer, a person who likes tidiness and organisation. It’s a great colour to help accent some darker shades, particularly grey and give a real lift to your outfit. This shade can signal to others that you can be counted on.

But no matter which shade you choose, wearing yellow makes you very conspicuous and so if you are feeling like you need a bit of space and peace and quiet, yellow might not be the wisest of choices.

So why don’t some of us have any yellow in our wardrobes I hear you ask. Well, that’s a very good question and one I’m going to talk to you a bit more about tomorrow. But before I share any further insights on this colour, I’d love to hear if yellow is your colour and why you love wearing it. And for the rest of today I’m off to bring a little yellow into my life and see what difference the psychology of colour makes in my life.

January 12, 2011 Posted by | COLOURS | , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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

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

Making a Silk Dress with my Very Own Handpainted Fabric – Part 1

Remember I painted 2 lengths of silk recently? One of them was in satin silk and was a bright array of vivid pink, fuchsia and orange.

The other was a pastel affair in soft shades of orange. Well, at last I’ve got round to planning the next step which is to make a lovely silk dress for myself.

You can see the fabric in this video and hear about what I’m planning to do with it.

But I really had to laugh while I was editing this footage. I’m going to have a competition to count how many times I say the word ‘gorgeous’  in this film! However, even though it was a little bit silly, I decided there was no way I was going to do the recording again as that would be even sillier.

Enjoy.

December 19, 2010 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Create a Beautiful Designer Silk Scarf Using Your Microwave

That’s quite an odd title coming from me, isn’t it? If you’ve been following a lot of my writing here and on other sites, you’ll know that I’m a real believer in good quality steaming for silk painting. But….in view of the fact that not everyone has the time, space and funds for this whole process, I thought I would share with you some of my escapades with microwaving. So here’s how I’ve been doing it.

The first problem I had with microwaving was that I didn’t own a microwave oven. I’m not going into the details here, but I prefer to cook all my food by conventional means. Okay, so that meant I had to go off to Morrisson’s and luckily they had a really basic model which suited my needs. Two dials for timing and heat. That’s all you need for what I’m going to share with you.

Materials for microwaving a silk scarf

You’re also going to need some silk dyes, remember, the ones that are specifically for steam fixing. Not the paints which you set by heat. Read the labels on the bottles if you are unsure, or ask the shop assistant for help. You’ll also need a plain white scarf with rolled edges that you can add the dyes to.

Before you start you’ll need to get a bowl, add a mixture of 2 parts water and one part vinegar, then soak your silk scarf in this for at least 15 minutes. This will improve the dying process and ensure you get lovely bright colours that last.

You then take the silk out of the bowl, squeeze it out gently and lay it out on a surface covered with plastic sheeting. Have the dyes and brushes you’d like to use at hand, and you’re ready to go.

Tie some knots into the wet silk

There is one other thing I need to point out – you will get very messy hands doing this unless you put on some rubber gloves. Which I never do, but I’m passing on this tip to you if you don’t want to run around with ghoulish fingers and nails for the next few days. 🙂

What you do next is completely up to your own imagination. You are going to start adding dyes to your heart’s content. Pick a nice colour range that would suit you and this will ensure the colours don’t clash. Splash them on with big brushes randomly. Or you can scrunch the silk up and dribble the dyes into the silk. Or what about folding it up and then painting the colours on in patterns? The example I’ve shown here is tying loose knots in the silk before applying the dye. The good news is that I’m in the process of putting together a video we took of me demonstrating this technique at a fair back in the summer, so you can copy what I did to get you started, if you like.

The important thing is that you keep the silk nice and wet so that you can properly ‘cook’ it afterwards.

 

Place the silk scarf in the bowl ready to microwave

Right, now you’re going to lift your silk and place it into a microwaveable dish. Don’t worry if the silk gets a little scrunched here too as your finished scarf will have an abstract pattern to it anyway. What I do next is get a piece of clingfilm and stretch this over the dish – I think it’s called Ceran wrap in the USA (that’ll save a few emails).  – ah, thanks Muffy. It’s Saran wrap. 🙂 One thing you need to do at this point is prick a hole in the foil. And if you don’t do this? The foil will bulge up and may explode….making a bit of a mess.

Now we’re going to place the covered dish in the microwave for 5 minutes at a medium-high setting.

Use this time to go back and wipe your plastic covered surface clean. The last thing you want is to have dye spillage messing up your finished scarf. Or you can just lift the sheeting to one side and put it out of harm’s reach. This may sound like Kindergarten stuff, but it’s one of the main causes of people messing up their lovely silks after all the work is done. So, I just thought I’d throw it in again here.

 

Finished effect of tying knots in the silk scarf

Right, the 5 minutes are up, so remember to use some sort of cloth or glove to lift out the hot dish. Carefully remove the foil and lift out the wet scarf.

Yes, it will still be totally wet at this point but the dye is fixed so the wetness only comes from water.

Now all that is left for you to do is hang up the silk to dry. Later you can rinse it in warm water with a touch of mild shampoo to remove any excess dye and then dab it with a towel. Iron the silk dry from the reverse with a medium hot iron. Another thing you can do for a really fashionable look is twist the wet silk and leave it to  dry. That will give you the look you can see in this final photo.

 

A gorgeous designer silk scarf

And there you are, ready to go. You’re now the proud owner of your very first original silk scarf. I don’t know about you, but I think this is a great way to make yourself something gorgeous in such a short space of time.

Do watch out for the video I’ll be posting in the next day or two, so that you can see the whole process in action. Have fun and let me know how things work out for you. I’d love to see your designer scarves.

December 12, 2010 Posted by | SILK PAINTING TECHNIQUES | , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

How to Stretch Silk onto a Wooden Frame

Here’s a video for those of you who are completely new to silk painting. It shows in detail how to stretch your silk onto a wooden frame so that it is taut enough to begin working on. This is the first in a long series of footage that will help you on your path with this wonderful artform.

Enjoy.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | SILK PAINTING TECHNIQUES | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Busting the Myth Surrounding Silk Painting

I just wanted to say a few words to dispel the myth that silk painting is painstaking. It’s not. It’s fun, creative and you never know where it’s going to take you. Enjoy.

November 29, 2010 Posted by | INSPIRATIONS | , , , , , | 39 Comments

Totterdown Arts Trail – Front Room

I just wanted to leave a quick note for all those of you who live in the Bristol area (UK). The Totterdown Arts trail, aka Front Room, starts tomorrow evening in all its glory and here are the details for the venue I am taking part in:

Friday, 19th November: evening reception and preview  with free wine and nibbles from 6 – 9pm

Saturday, 20th November: open from 12 – 6pm with cafe

Sunday, 21st November: open from 12 – 6pm with cafe

I’ll be exhibiting at 88 Oxford Street at the home of Eva Thyghoj, a talented fashion designer. There will be 4 of us at the one venue, offering  jewellery, felting,  designer clothing and silks.  Please come along and meet us if you are around. This is the ideal opportunity to pick up some fabulous Christmas gifts.

For full details of all the venues and artists’ profiles, check out the official Totterdown Arts Trail website.

See you there.

November 18, 2010 Posted by | EXHIBITIONS | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stretcher Systems – or Silk Painting Frames

I’ve been doing some digging and am very close to posting some info on the different types of stretcher systems available for silk painters. Just for clarity, stretcher systems are what the North Americans refer to and silk painting frames may be more familiar to other shores. 🙂

Today I was browsing in the Screwfix catalogue for plastic tubing. My husband has it lying around here because he orders lots of bits and pieces for his DIY work. But during our recent Silk Painters’ Skype Chat one of my silk painting colleagues, Janet, recommended I look in the catalogue for plastic tubing which I could use as a frame.

Well,we found it, worked out what I would need to get started and placed an order this afternoon. It’s due to arrive on Tuesday which is really fast! So I’m now looking forward to trying out this system and will definitely post my findings here on the blog for you to have a look at.

There are so many systems that you can try out, so I’ll be taking time to look at a few of them and see what works and what doesn’t work so well with each one.

Looking forward to reporting back. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

 

November 14, 2010 Posted by | STRETCHER SYSTEMS / SILK PAINTING FRAMES | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kindred Spirit Article

Some of you will already know from my Silk & Art page on Facebook that I had an editorial run this month on my artwork in Kindred Spirit. I was really thrilled that they hardly edited it and just put it out there much in the way they got it from me.

I tried to scan the pages and post them on Facebook but due to the size of the images there, the text was totally fuzzed and no-one could read it.

So…..here it is again for you in glorious technicolour (well, the second page at least).  You may be able to read it straight from the page, but if not, just click on the image and when the smaller image appears, use the magnifying glass and  the text will appear greatly enlarged. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

November 5th, 2010

 

Kindred Spirit interview with Fiona Stolze - p1

Kindred Spirit interview with Fiona Stolze part 2

 

November 10, 2010 Posted by | AWARDS AND ACCOLADES | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Silk Painting Topic Would You Love Me to Write About?

It’s great to get feedback from all of you lovely readers. Often I get emails thanking me for specific help I have given on the various topics looked at in this blog. Wherever I can, I like to deal with queries here in this space so that the maximum number of readers can benefit from what I write.

But today I have some questions for all of you. So that I can maximise the help I give you in your silk painting adventures, it makes sense to know on a regular basis what it is that you are wanting to hear about and know more on. And here we go:

What would you most like me to write posts about in order to give you ongoing support in silk painting?

What particular issues do you have the most difficulty with in silk painting and which ones almost put you off keeping going – please share these with me.

Is there anything in my particular area of expertise that you would like me to share with you in this space?

I would love to hear from you below. Please add any comments you have, ask any questions you may have and make any suggestions you’d like to. I’ll be glad to help in any way I can.

September 26, 2010 Posted by | MANDALA ART | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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!

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

Silk Painting with Om and Soya Wax Part 1

Pastel background and Om template

Yes, I’m painting with soya wax on silk again because I had such fun the first time I tried it a couple of weeks ago. And this time I thought I would try using a template I had instead of just drawing the pattern free-hand like I did last time. As I write the wax is still hardening properly and so I’ve decided to document what I’ve done so far.

I began by stretching a piece of silk on the wooden frame and applying some

Tracing the Om symbol onto the silk

pastel shades of blue, turquoise and fern green. I really watered them down so that the effect would be very light and diluted. This was because I wanted to get a stronger contrast between the first and the second layer of dye I applied. If you read the post on my first soya piece, you will remember that everything was a lovely medley of fuchsias and purples with all the tones blending into each other.

I chose to use the Om symbol for this piece and looked out a computer printout I had that I could use. The next step was to trace this symbol onto the silk. I very rarely trace things, only for designs that I want to repeat such as greeting cards or very small pictures but when I do, this is how I do it, so to speak.

The soya wax granules in the hot water bath in the saucepan

I place one or two books on the table and the pattern on top of the books. Then I lay the frame over this and position it so that the design is nicely centred.  Using one of those magic fabric markers, I trace the lines onto the silk. Mine is purple and fades within a day or two of using it. The greater the heat in the room, the quicker the lines disappear.

Okay, so far so good. Next I got out my soya wax granules and popped a handful of them into a metal bowl which I placed in a saucepan of water.  I turned the heat on and watched while the granules melted, ready for me to start painting. It’s surprising how little wax I have needed for my work so far. I had some solidified wax left in the bowl from last time and added more granules for today’s session but at the end I still had some left!

The last time I used a flat brush but this time I used a finer round one which

Painting the Om symbol with soya wax

was great to work with filling in the pattern I had traced. I kept the wax really hot, dipping my brush in again and again  to avoid the wax cooling and therefore ensuring it penetrated the silk properly. I had to keep watching that my fingers didn’t brush against the parts that I had already painted as this would smudge the wax.

I was aware that I was creating work of a very different quality from usual gold gutta lining. With the wax I found my first picture was full of movement and different textures and so the individual outlines were not key to the overall look of the painting.  We’ll see how this one turns out when I have completed work on it.

Okay, so I completed outlining and filling in the symbol I had traced. It was already beginning to solidify and turn white where I had applied the wax. When you paint the wax on, it should be dark and make the silk look see through. That tells you that the wax was hot enough. In fact, you can see here a picture I have taken holding the frame up to the light to show you what the design looks like. And when I turned the completed frame over, the reverse actually looked as if I had applied the wax to that side. Excellent. No worries about the wax not fully working as a resist. This is satin silk I am working on and it appears to be very well suited to this sort of work. I have yet to try out crepe de chine which could turn out to have very different results due to the twisted weave of the fabric.

The waxed silk held against the light

When I had completely filled in the Om symbol, I decided to add some squiggly lines to give some substance to the background of the picture. This would give a lovely interplay of colours after adding more dye.  I’m having a break at this point and will continue

The completed picture with squiggly lines on the background

with applying the second coat of dye tomorrow.

The last picture here shows the frame from the reverse and you can see how

The soya wax lines on the reverse of the silk

the wax has completely come through the silk, creating an effective barrier for further painting. I’m intrigued as to how this will look when finished and so will probably get going with this soon after breakfast.

I hope this was of some use to you and hope to see you for part 2.

September 15, 2010 Posted by | SILK PAINTING TECHNIQUES | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment