Friday, 30 November 2012

Two Colour Silk Scarf

Silk painting with Deka Silk paints
Silk Scarf decorated with blobs of paint and drops of water

I was quite daunted when I first pinned my 90cm x 90cm Pongee silk scarf to the stretcher frame.  I had two colours of DEKA Silk (black and lemon) and wanted to demonstrate how they could be used effectively to decorate the scarf.  I wanted to create a simple design that didn't include having to use a gutta outliner or precise application.

I began with the black paint, blobbing it randomly across the surface and then dropping a drip of water into the centre of the wet paint.  The water makes the paint spread outwards, leaving a ring of concentrated colour on the outside of the blob.

I waited for the black paint to dry and then added some yellow blobs. 

Silk pins hold the silk scarf in place for silk painting
Silk scarf pinned onto the stretcher frame.
For the next stage I diluted some black paint with an equal amount of water and blobbed this onto the scarf.  This diluted paint spread further but halted at the edge of the dried blobs I had painted previously.  When these had dried, I diluted the yellow paint with an equal amount of water and filled in any part of the silk not yet coloured, taking care not to overload the brush as the diluted paint moves quickly.

The patterning is so organic, and the instant effects very satisfying. 

Blobs of silk paint with water dropped onto them

Water and different colours dropped onto wet silk paint

Experiment with silk paint

Friday, 16 November 2012

Selectasine Puff Binder and Pigment Swatch Test

The Selectasine range of binders and pigments offer the textile artist a variety of options for screen printing and painting.

Selectasine Puff Binder mixed with pigment
This test shows how the Selectasine Puff Binder combined with Selectasine Pigment performs on finely woven cotton fabric.

The pigment colour Fiery Red was combined with the puff binder at approximately 1 part pigment to 20 parts binder.  The concentrated pigments are supplied in a liquid state as "pigment in dispersion" (i.e. the pigment is still a solid, though minute, and has not been dissolved into the liquid), this makes them easy to stir into the binder.  These pigments can be used to create screen ink, paint, and to colour pulp in hand paper making.

The pigment needs to be added to a binder if the solution is to used on fabric, paper, board or wood.  The acrylic content of the binder makes a bond with fabric once the paint has dried and been fixed with heat (find out more about fixing/curing the paints from our Fact File page).  There are a choice of binders for creating different effects with the pigments.

The Selectasine Puff Binder inflates as heat is applied making the painted or printed item slightly raised on the surface.

Selectasine Puff Binder painted onto fabric, screen print for even coverage
The solution painted onto fabric, note that more
paint has been applied to the top circle.

Allow the solution to dry thoroughly and then sandwich between two sheets of cotton before ironing on the reverse of the print.  The iron needs to be very hot and the steam switched off.

Heat has been applied to the puff binder
The solution has puffed up.

The puffed solution gives a slightly matt finish and the colour has dulled slightly.  The top circle shows the potential for the binder to puff up quite substantially.  Applying the 'ink' through a screen will make the coverage more even and subsequent layers can be printed on top before fixing. 

The fabric puckers slightly beneath the puffed solution.  The more solution that is applied, the more the fabric will pucker from beneath, offering exciting opportunites for creating dimpled and textured fabric. 

Find out more about the Selectasine Screen Printing System from the Screen Printing section of the George Weil website.

The puff paint expanded with heat

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Beginners Weaving Loom

The mini weaving loom is ideal for learning the basics of weaving. The loom measures 28cm x 39cm and has a weaving width of 23cm.  When you get the loom out of the box, you will find that it already holds a weaving sample.

A beginners weaving loom
The Mini Weaving Loom
The threads which are strung onto the loom (in white) are known as the warp and the threads which are woven over and under the warp (in orange and yellow) are known as the weft.
The shed is created by the heddle bar
The open 'shed' created by the heddle bar.
The heddle bar (pictured above left) has grooves cut into it in which the warp threads rest.  This creates the space between the warp threads and is called the shed.  The shed allows the yarn loaded shuttle to pass between the warp threads.
The shed is created by the heddle bar
The 'shed' changes when the heddle is tipped forward.
In the heddle bar, every other groove is cut in the opposite direction to the adjacent groove so that when it is turned, the opening of the threads alternates.   The shuttle passes back and forth over the warp threads when they are lowered, and under the same warp threads when they are raised.
The comb is used to beat down the weft
The comb is used to beat down the weft threads.
You can experiment with the mini loom and use a variety of materials to weave your fabric.
Cloth woven with recycled Sari yarn and strips of plastic bag
The recycled Sari yarn (top) and a plastic carrier bag in strips.
The ends of the weft yarn are left hanging at the edge and can be threaded into the back of the fabric when the weaving is complete.  To finish the woven fabric, cut two of the warp threads at a time and tie the ends together.  The ends can be left as a fringe or threaded into the edge with a large needle.
Weaving with different coloured yarns
Different coloured warp yarns and a red weft yarn 
Use different coloured warp yarns and weft yarns to vary the patterning in the woven cloth. 
Visit the website to see the Mini Weaving Loom and other weaving equipment and yarns available from George Weil.

Allison Holland

Friday, 2 November 2012

Silver Earrings made from Art Clay Silver clay

These silver earrings were made from Art Clay Silver clay.  They are a simple project for anyone who has never used this precious metal clay.

How to make Art Clay Silver Clay earrings
Earrings made from Art Clay Silver clay
I used just 10g (5g for each earring) which I divided into two pieces.  Digital scales are useful for weighing into equal sizes.

To make the shape, I rolled each piece of clay into a ball and then pierced the ball with a tapestry needle near the edge.  Working the tapestry needle around the hole, I distorted the orifice and thinned out the silver clay along the top edge.  I then squeezed and pulled the bead gently at the top edge to create the shape shown in the third image below.  You have to work quickly as the clay begins to dry out while you handle it.  Imperfections can be smoothed over with a wet paint brush or removed with sandpaper once the clay is dry.

Stages of the bead as it was worked into shape.

When the beads had dried (allow at least 12 hours) I used a fine file and sandpaper to tidy up any flaws in the surface before firing.

There are three methods for firing Art Clay Silver clay which include using a kiln, a gas hob or blowtorch (find out more about firing Art Clay Silver clay from the George Weil Fact File pages). 

I used a blowtorch (see my previous post Art Clay Silver clay - tried and tested) and when fired, brushed off the white residue before compacting the surface with a burnisher to make it shiny. 

To make the earrings, I connected each bead to a sterling silver fish hook earwire with a 6mm sterling silver bolt ring.

All the materials and tools used for making the earrings can be found on the George Weil website. Browse Silver Clay Working at

Allison Holland