3 June 2012

Step Down Sunday - Silk Painting

Whenever our WI starts a new craft class you’ll find my name at the top of the list. Besides the fun of learning new skills, the more things we learn to do ourselves - the lower our carbon footprint should be. This week’s class has been silk painting (granted not immediately practical, but all skills are good) for which we needed a stretched canvas. After searching through charity shops for weeks, I finally found just what I needed.
It was a brand new artist canvas, still in its shrink-wrap, but had obviously been in someone’s shed or loft for a few years. Once you removed the plastic it was absolutely perfect. So with my charity shop canvas and a handful of embroidery hoops I’d bought for another project, I was ready to get started.

The first class was pretty simple. We stretched our silk over the canvas and secured it with pins. Once the silk was pulled tight as a drum we used the tubes of Gutta to make our designs. Gutta is a bit like the lead in a stained glass window, keeping the coloured sections apart. It's a bit hard to see in the photo below, but hopefully it gives you the idea. We were just making random designs so we could practice, but I wasn’t entirely happy with them.

Janine from Chouxchouxbedoo came up with the clever idea of starting over again. So I copied her lead and washed the Gutta off my silk with warm water. Just a quick iron later and I was ready to start again. This time I drew my pattern on a piece of paper first, placed my hoop on top, and then I traced it with the Gutta. In just ten minutes I was finished and ready for the next class.

So Monday night we broke out the dyes! I started with my fishy scene as it was my least favourite. Silk painting reminds me a lot of water-colour painting...which is also something I’m rubbish at. The finished aquatic scene isn't that bad, but I really misjudged the blues I used for the water.

My second attempt was much more successful! By fortuitous accident I didn’t wash the original Gutta out completely, leaving a shadow of the old design. I really like the effect!

While silk painting didn't seem very practical at first, it could be brilliant for home-made gifts. Sue who ran the class turned her piece into a gorgeous notebook cover, but you can also make scarves, cards and other crafts. It could be a brilliant choice for this year's Christmas gifts! So even though silk painting didn't appear to be an eco-friendly skill, the more we learn the more self sufficient we can be!

Step Down Sunday Have you made any Steps Down this week?

If you'd like the code for the Step Down Sunday badge or to learn more about it, go to the Step Down Sunday page.