Silk Painters Guild of Montana is having a call for art! "A Silk Painters' Salon"

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Swiss Silkers do it again with their incredible talent and hard work. They are heading to Germany after this, riding on the success of their latest exhibit. Click here to see images of their beautiful artwork.




Piedmont Silk Painters October 2015 meeting brought visitors as well as sisters, Belinda O’Neil and Terry Tabor from the Washington DC/Maryland Silk Painters Group.

Everyone arrived early Saturday am to find a full course breakfast waiting allowing time to get to know each other and enjoy a delicious meal together.  Marcia Ferris has an amazing silk studio just outside of Durham, North Carolina as most of you know and we used every inch of it! When we finally moved upstairs, Marcia went over SPIN business and some general housekeeping information specific to our group. 

There was some tips shared: Marcia showed us a frame her husband Martin built for her sized for 1/2 yard of fabric.  He cleverly used a design similar to a screen door allowing the tools used for replacing/repairing the common household screen window/door tools to be used in this silk frame.  Next, a preference was given for using white foam under the clear plastic table tops instead of the multi colored carpet padding commonly used as it allowed you full visual verification of no residual dyes when starting the next project.  If you preferred not to use the sometimes expensive plastic, a standard drop cloth would work just fine, you must however wash it each time before starting the next project just to be sure.  Next, Kathy Goodson said she traces her patterns using an overhead projector to enlarge her photos onto sheer vellum paper.  When the tracing onto the silk is complete, she uses a standard household paper towel tube to roll them up and store them. Writing the name of the design and a date is very helpful for finding them again.  A reminder was given to all to join SPIN so you could participate in the Tennessee events and that January 2016 was the due date.   Marcia started off our day of sharing with parfait dyeing.  She suggested that this would be a perfect technique for quilters as color combinations and harmony is so crucial to a good design and this technique guarantees success in marrying all applied colors. 

We could use MX dyes as Marcia showed us or Deborah Younglao followed up with the option of using Color Hue dyes which was the option the majority of our group choose.  When you use Color Hue dyes, within 30 minutes you have completed 3 harmonious pieces of silk.  MX dyes mean you have to use a few more chemicals but as we all know give a good bit more color depth and options.  Marcia showed us the books Color by Accident and Color by Design both by author Ann Johnston to help us think about layering and how each color choice would affect the other pieces in our parfait grouping.   Time for a lunch that was even bigger and better than breakfast.  Marcia sewed us some silk bags and filled them with goodies for each of us, yes she is an amazing host! They were waiting for us next to our place settings and of we all opened them like it was Christmas.  Joanna White shared a tip from experience saying that Pro Chem’s liquid MX dyes were healthier/safer than the other MX dyes but would still need to be steam set.

Back from Lunch and our guests shared a couple of techniques with us that they love to use.  Terry showed us how to use cut up tissue papers (the cheaper product the better) to dye silk in a baggie.  A lot of us were excited as we do programs with kids/adults and need something simple to work with.  After placing the silk and the dye in a baggie for less than a minute, taking out the tissue and then re-inserting the silk enclosed in the  baggie into a microwave for 1 minute, the piece was finished.  Needless to say, our brains were in high gear thinking of how group projects just became easier for all. 

Belinda was up next, using standard Dupont Acid dyes mixed with water, she dipped her silk brush into Downy Fabric softener and began to “paint” it onto her silk piece.  It had the effect of “pushing” and moving the dye away from the Downy creating interesting movement.  Everyone started throwing out ideas of placing the tissue paper on top, watering it, putting just the fabric softener again on top of the existing dyes, all were eager to see what happened, fortunately Belinda was happy to experiment and cooperated with a laugh and smile to each suggestion given. 

We throughly enjoyed our two guests who said they throughly enjoyed our company as well.  Clean up took some time and of course we swapped stories and contact information while doing so.  We started at 9am and the last person left at 4:15.  I promise you if you asked, not one of us could explain how the day went by so fast!  Marcia and Martin sent the lovely DC/Maryland ladies off with BBQ and sides back to their hotel to catch a nap with some suggestions on where they might find some evening activities to enjoy. 

Personally a road trip to DC/Maryland sounds great though we were warned no one has a space like Marcia Ferris there.  We all completely understand that statement as she has a creatives dream space and we are all blessed to be playing in it with her.  Should you want more details on each technique, send your request to Marcia Ferris via FB please.