to finish with the bellydancing veil, after it air cured for a couple of days, which means hanging over the shower curtain, and then being gathered up and moved away from the water when somebody took a bath. it was a bunched up mess when it came time to lay it flat and wrap it up for steaming. first i needed help to unstick the thing. it’s a real benefit that silk is so strong – they used to make parachutes from silk. once you get sugar syrup all over silk, and crush it together, it takes a herculean effort to get it unstuck. you can see by the creases how hard it is to unstick. like when my sister put gum in my hair one night.
so i went a little crazy trying to get it unstuck and lain flat on the newsprint. you need to wrap these things in layers of newsprint so that when they bleed, they don’t bleed onto the next layer of silk on the roll. tho in this case it hardly matters.
after three tries and lots of wasted paper (because i had to tear the paper back off in order to start over) i had a bundle that i could fit into my steamer. the problem was that the silk didn’t roll up straight, and it’s already as wide as my steamer will take. so i had to keep rolling it again, trying to make it straight. in the end, i wrapped the roll in a piece of kraft paper and used masking tape to hold it together.
i put a hole in one end of the kraft paper, and ran a special-purpose clothes hanger thru it, then hung the bundle inside the stovepipe steamer i made. topped with a towel, and with a few inches of water inside, the whole thing will boil and steam for a good 4 hours. because there’s so much silk inside, i feel i have to steam it extra long time. it’s all superstition, of course, because i’m not the repeatable science type, and am just hitting it with everything i got, like the idea of spraying it with vinegar. how am i supposed to know what works? i’m going to try everything…
so, while i’ve got my stretchers out, and my dyes, and some spare silk, i think i’ll make another one. this one is much shorter, say 70″ x 18″ or so. but i can still do a milky way on it. there’s nothing like a blank canvas to start the creative juices running.
this is the first application, put on with a brush. you can’t see the dots of sodium alginate, and i’ve mixed up a nice medium brown and laid out the edges of the darkest clouds in a sort of underpainting. then i put more star dots on top of that. you can just see the barest indications of the lines in charcoal. this time i’m mainly going to show the lower left corner of the scarf.
light blue, and then more dots of alginate resist, to reserve the stars.
then some light red spattered on with an old toothbrush, and then i start in with the darker purple i used at the end of the last scarf.
and more darks, and more dots. this stuff is slathered on with a toothbrush, some of the splotches the size of a quarter.
now i’ve come in with sugar syrup, to reserve the lightest areas.
and i’ve gone thru and wiped the syrup with my fingers, smudging it on the surface so it’s not so linear. and more black with the toothbrush. at some point i came in with black in the brush and carefully lined the edges of the scarf with black. have to be careful here because these are rolled edges, and it’s easy to leave the underside white.
here’s after spraying it with vinegar water. note how all the hard edges have softened.
this is another part of the scarf, and it’s right after i sprayed it. you can see the black running from the top half down thru the light areas. it’s beautiful to stand and watch this process, it keep spreading and running, tho, so you’ve got to be ready to come in and lift it with a dry towel, or hit the fan on to dry the whole area quickly.
after it has dried, and this is a different area, so it’s hard to see the difference between how it was.
however, i can show the process again, from the end of the table. and after letting the whole thing cure for a few days (until i finish the next one) i will steam it, and we shall see how it comes out. it won’t be the same. i wish i could paint them and never steam them, because they’re so much more beautiful before all the dye washes out…