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Silk painting with Kiran

A few weeks ago I did a wonderful silk painting workshop with Kiran of Kiran Design Studio at Craft + Design Canberra.


Kiran taught a range of different silk painting techniques, include pipettes, painting directly and using resists such as ties, objects, salts and alcohol.


We stated with a series of samplers on silk hankies.



Top left is a sampler I made using dyed dropped by pipette onto a dry hankie. The drops didn't blend or travel much because of the dry fabric, making them all quite distinct. I also dropped alcohol into the centre of most of the drops, which had a very subtle effect. I think also because the hanky was dry? This is my least favourite of the three.


The centre is my favourite sampler. I used a handfull of spiral shells and marbles, which I tied into the hanky using rubber bands to create resists. I then very carefully applied dye using a pipette to all of the hanky. This was a pretty slow and meticulous process but I just love the result! You can see some circles in the dye pattern, from marbles, and some diamonds from the spiral shells.


Top right is the final sampler, made by dropping dye using pipettes onto a wet hanky. The wet fabric makes the dye run and intermingle much faster, creating a more watercolour effect. I also covered this hanky in rock salt before I left it to dry, which really concentrates and shifts the dye around. I really like this effect, not as much as the resist dyeing, but still really cool.


After playing with our sample hankies everyone had a full silk scarf to dye. I decided to go with the wet silk pipette dropping and drying with salt effect. It wasn't my favourite effect, but I didn't have the energy or patience to carefully cover the whole scarf in tyed items and then cover it in dye.



This is my finished scarf. I love it! I went with teal, rust and gold as my colours as it's a combo I saw in a braid of fibre years ago and I just fell in love. I left large white spaces to let the colours run, and also had a pipette in each hand to make myself micromanage the process less. You can watch what both pipettes are doing at the same time! Finally, the salt on the scarf as it dried really concentrated the colour and make it quite dramatic in places.


I really enjoyed the whole workshop. I mainly went because I'm interested in dyeing silk warps for weaving. I didn't get much information on how to do that, but that's okay. The one really powerful piece of information I got from the workshop was from leafing through Kiran's samples portfolio. It made me realise that the difference between an artist and a hobby crafter is that an artist puts their experiments (including their failures!) in a fancy folder and shows them off while a hobby crafter puts their samples and failures in the back of a cupboard or even the bin.


So I'm off to get myself a fancy folder.

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