silk painting workshop day 2

this is the result of two days of silk painting workshop.  i told the students it was the shortest 6 week class i’d ever taught.  because usually my silk painting classes are that long, but i showed them most of the content in only 2 days.  and it wasn’t even gruelling.  below is a sample of the range of scarves they produced: fran’s on the left, lara’s in the middle, alice’s on the right.  these haven’t been steamed yet, and your results may vary.  btw, most of these pictures came from the students, because i didn’t have time to take any photos during the class.


this is only the paper towel that metta was using to see what colors she had mixed, along with part of the egg cup palette she used.


and this is ida’s first scarf.


that’s a demo of some advanced techniques, namely the use of salt.  the idea on something with that little resist on it is to work quickly so the scarf doesn’t have time to dry before the area is covered.  drying would mean edges.


we were able to steam only two scarves during the class, and i had to do the rest of the steaming at home.  fran bundled up 4 scarves into one roll, stacking them in two layers, and another 4 scarves into another roll, and it took me all afternoon to steam them in our homemade steamer.  the stovepipe was made of plastic, and the longer it was heated the more warped it got.  it’s still usable after this, but it’s not round anymore.  there was an accident at one point, and again the steamer fell over with the scarf bundle inside.  but the reason it fell over was because all the water boiled away, adn the last little bit of water must have popped and exploded, and knocked the pipe off balance.  luckily there was no water to spill down the pipe, and so it only fell over, and the bundle did not get wet.  i put more water into the steamer once i’d set it upright again, and gave it another hour.  all told, the scarves steamed for about 2 hours each bundle.

the problem with this was that there were 2 layers.  the outer layer steamed just fine, as you can see by the marks left on the paper.  when the scarf bleeds onto the paper, it means that the steam has reached the scarf, and that means it’s set.  the inner layer of each bundle was still unmarked, which means i had to go to plan b.


plan be was to get a towel wet and lay it over the scarf which was still sandwiched between paper, put the hottest possible iron on the wet towel, and steam it as well as i could.  after ten minutes of this over an 18″ section, i lifted the towel and saw the dye transfer, and then satisfied, i moved to the next section of scarf, rewet the towel in the sink, wrung it out and started again.  this took several hours because i had to do 5 scarves.  but i’ll be damned if i’ll see the scarves just wash out and fade away after all the effort the students made to make scarves they liked.

you can see all the marked up paper on the floor, the ironed scarves laid out over the transom, and the scarves i was still ironing on the table.  the steamer is the red tube sitting in the cooking pot and standing on top of a hot plate in the corner.  oh and there’s the iron in front of hte red tube.


and this is the towel i used to steam the scarves with.  and this is early in the game, as well.  it got much more stained.  it will probably wash out, since these are unset dyes on cotton.  we’ll see, however.  i might just turn into tie dye over the next few days…


these are the lengths of cotton that lara and i dyed after the students went home on saturday.  i’m not sure if i can identify the techniques at this point, but the leftmost is scrunch dyeing, or low water immersion dyeing, the one with the circles was tie dyed with rubber bands.  the next one looks to have been stretched and painted, and the right one was folded and dipped.  the colors turned out very nicely.


and then lara made pillows out of them right away.  very fast, lara.


and that’s all she wrote on the class.  i have still to wash out all the scarves i was responsible for steaming, and iron them so they’re pretty, and then i may well include them in the group exhibition we’re holding on friday, of the work all of us have done at the residency.  if the students don’t object.



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