PAINTING ON SILK
Pure white Habotai silk, woven from unravelled silk worm cocoons, takes the place of canvas for much of my work. I use special silk dyes that, are great fun to blend, creating a vast range of colours with an almost iridescent quality to them
I start off with pencil sketches that evolve into a ink-pen master-drawing. A piece of silk is stretched onto a wooden frame, and laid on top of my drawing, so that I can trace the lines on to the silk.
I make use of the age-old "serti" technique, picked up while travelling in Europe,to define the shapes within my paintings, creating thin lines of gold, copper, or black resist. When dry, the resist stops the dye from spreading hap-hazardly, giving form to the composition.
I use industrial-strength, state-of-the-art silk dyes, often blending the colors on an old plate to get just the shade I am after. At times, I sprinkle salt onto the freshly dyed silk. The grains of salt react with the dye, producing a swirling, bubble-like effect that adds additional impact to the artwork.
Once a painting is completed, it must be rolled between layers of cotton cloth, and steamed for several hours, in order to set the colours and make them light-fast. Unwrapping a roll of steaming hot silk paintings is always an adrenalin-filled moment around here: did they turn out OK? It only takes a few drops of water to spoil hours of work at this delicate stage!
I create one-off originals and customized commissions, but have also started building up series of paintings, each based on one original master-drawing. These Limited Edition Originals are individually painted by hand in dyes on silk. No one painting is exactly the same, as the process of choosing and blending colours is always a dynamic one.
Pasifika VII – Kuro (first edition) - Left
Pasifika VII – Kuro (second edition) - Right
A silk painting should be treated much the same as an original water color. Framed under glass and protected from direct exposure to sunlight, the artwork will last a lifetime and beyond…