Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A silk painted rose

This little rose was my first attempt at painting on silk. I was hooked from the start. I have signed up for two more classes and set up a nice little space in the basement for the delightfully messy stuff. On this piece, I've used clear gutta to define the shapes. Gutta is a resist to contain the flow of the paint to specific areas, acting like a sort of dam to hold back the paint.

After the gutta was washed out I found that I lost some of the paint with it, especially in the center. I also ended up with white silk showing where the stems were meant to go, which I liked because it just begs for embellishment.
Silk is very slippery and thin, so I ironed a hunk of Wash Away Applique Sheet to the wrong side as a stabilizer, and hauled out my box of silk embroidery floss. My first thought was to replace the missing paint in the center with embroidery stitches.
Nope. The blending of shades of pink didn't work as hoped. The stitching just looked clunky and forced, so it got picked away. The nice thing about silk is that it's pretty tough and the holes just closed right in.
What it needed was a more refined hand. I started in the center of the rose, outlining each petal, using the stitches to replace the lines that the gutta had left. As I worked, though, I felt that perhaps, once again, I was being to literal. As I got to the buds I decided to let the lines be a little more abstract, unfinished, more sketched in than actual outlines.
By the time I got to the last leaves I realized that thinner lines would be even better, so I used just two strands of the six stranded floss here. If I were starting over, I think I'd go even finer, something to try next time.
Here it is. I love how the leaves look. Best of all, this little slip of a project (it's just about 4 by 6 inches) has left me thinking about how I would do the next one differently. I won't try to fix this any further, I think I've learned all it has to tell me.

What a luxury for me, creating these little cast-offs, just little bits of this or that I can use for trying out new ideas. It seems like forever since I've had the time to "waste" on things that may not turn out. Deadlines can do that to you. It's taken me a long time to unwind from the deadline rat race too, to leave behind that feeling that every moment must be productive or I will fail, disappoint or come up short. A feeling that's left me entirely unproductive, paralyzed, feeling guilty and a little lost. Finally I am looking forward to not getting it right the first time. I have entered the joyful land of the do-over.


  1. how wonderful - I love to paint on fabric. Last year I took a piece of aluminum foil and crinkled it and then created curved lines in various places - I placed my fabric on top of the foil and dabbed paints lightly all over - it reminded me of the woods near my grandfather's camp when I was a kid - I've been embellishing it since - so much fun and so free! Can't wait to see what you do next!

  2. Hello Beth...I literally just found your A Fine Romance Quilt and it is taking my breath away. Only 1 other has affected me so and now I want to make it - even though you are finishing yours. I have downloaded the initial Craftsy introduction. I guess my question is...can I still get all the pattern/applique directions?
    I, too, have multiple crafting loves. I obviously sew, quilt, embroider; paint with acrylics, oils, watercolors; weave on a rigid heddle loom & four harness loom; and I'm a Master Gardener; actress; writer; excellent cook, French, Cajun/Creole, Italian, etc. I just don't have time to do everything I want to do every day...there are just so many chores of life that get in the way of all my craft enjoyment. LOL! I do hope I can make your A Fine Romance Quilt. Thanks for consideration. Julie

  3. Hey Julia! All of the steps for A Fine Romance are still available from the Craftsy Pattern Store. I sometimes envy folks who have figured out how to limit themselves to one passion. I think, most of all, I like learning new things.

  4. I loved reading this. I am bored with straight quilting, so I started crazy quilting then painting my own fabric. I love it. Thank you.