Friday, August 12, 2016

Estonian Ethno Silk Painting with Maria

These photos are from the painting process of a silk scarf in Estonian Ethno motifs. Different motifs from Western Estonia are combined here, the scarf was a birthday gift for a dance teacher from the folk dancing group. So they wished the scarf to be in Estonian Ethno motifs, and because the dance teacher is a very bright and colorful person, the scarf was planned to be as bright and colorful.

Firstly I begun with freehand brush painting.
I dilutedd purple silk dye in a lot of water, so the brush line was really faint, almost transparent. Still - the place where the silk has had even a faint line, acts differently, while painted again - the dye will not spread so much. This - to avoid too much spreading, was my first aim while painting this layer. The second one was to sketch the whole design.
As you can see, I did not copy the national motifs, but used them just as the source of inspiration.
I have studied older handcrafts and they are seldom very symmetrical - it was not easy to achieve these times. Every master interpreted the old patterns in her or his own way.

I wished to load the scarf with the energy of this free interpretation, so I chose the flowers from the old patterns, that best fitted my design and combined them freely. The result is not too symmetrical. Another option is to print out the folk patterns in suitable size and to copy them carefully on silk. This is not my way, because it changes the energy and power of these old patterns - while drawn freehand, they are much more powerful.

When the first layer was dry, I did another round of brush painting, this time using the colors I planned to use on the flowers.

When the second layer of dye was dry too, I added the gutta lines (they cannot be added on the moist silk, because they won't work as the resist this way). I used Marabu guttas - transparent, red, yellow, copper. I carefully drew all floral motifs of the scarf.

After letting the gutta to dry, I added the third layer of dye. I painted a bit inside the flowers and leaves. Then the second layer of gutta was added, to make the design more precise and add some detail (like the small circles and crosses between the flowers.

When this gutta was dry too, it was the time to paint the background. Before doing it, I sent the photos of painting process to the women who had ordered the scarf, to discuss with them the color of the background - should it be bright blue (as original) or maybe dark red, rust brown, dark mossgreen, purple, beige? Each option had made an entirely different result. The answer came fast - cornflower blue was the color. So I begun to brush paint the background, with large, but sharp ended brush.

This is a work that needs speed and concentration  - when painting outside, especially in sunshiny (like I did), the silk dye tends to dry very fast. When dry and wet dye met, the form some special sharp lines. Sometimes they are really cool, but not on this design. So I had to paint from one end to the other, without a break.

While this was done, I sent the photos to the people who had ordered the scarf, again, asking, could I add some contrast. They agreed, so I added some darker shades of red and green, to make the floral motifs to pop up more, and the scarf was ready to steam set.

After steaming the scarf, I washed it (to get rid of transparent gutta lines and the extra dyes), rinsed it in Lenor to make the silk softer, and ironed the moist scarf. Because it was for an Estonian person, I wrote a poem to her too (unfortunately this is something I can do only in my mother tongue, Estonian), and packed the scarf to a paper bag with logo.
The dancing teacher was very happy about her Birthday gift.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

New Team Member Introduction

I'd like to share with you today a new team member on the Etsy Silk Team

Her name is Amaia G. Marzabal and now lets let her introduce herself. 

Marzabal arises from the history of my bask surname, which means "wide sea", and also of my experiences living next to a very wild sea and my scuba diving immersions. This surname evokes my inspiration: the underwater colors , the coral forms, its changes and structures... All this concepts influenced my life and my work as well. The result of these graphic and artistic ideas is a collection of simple and comfortable clothes and good quality silks and cottons.

This brand has been created with one goal: to work with a collection of exclusive products linked with art and handicrafts. All of them are hand painted with special brushes and hand stamped. This brand is for art and handicraft loving people!

My philosophy is to do my best and try to help my community stimulating the manual and local work. With the purchase of these products you can contribute with the local economy of the bask country: 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Scarves by Mikal: New Member

I have been a painter for as long as I remember. Since retiring, I have done several shows and participated in festivals. My scarves were so easy to transport to the festivals , sold quite well, and are fun to do. I hold three to four workshops every year locally in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

I love to read, walk, swim and have a super black lab that I have trained recently as a service dog.

I still paint in oil when the mood strikes, but really like the silk process .

I am looking forward to participating with the Silk Artist Team.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Team Member- Malorie

I am Malorie and I live in Austin, TX with my husband Ben. I got started with silk painting at the University of Texas where I studied costuming. It took a course about dyeing fabric for the theatre and learned to work with silk. I loved it so much I couldn't stop. I mostly like working with shibori methods because the organic look that can be achieved (it's just more my aesthetic) but I'll occasionally work with resist methods as well.

Her Shop

Monday, August 18, 2014

Featured Artist- Sirje

My name is Sirje and I’m from Estonia, a small country in Northern Europe.

Why silk painting?

I’ve been interested in crafts and design earlier, but now when I discovered the charm of silk painting, it takes all my time. I’ve been painting for 6 years now and I’m basically a self taught artist. I’ve attended several courses and workshops to get my basic knowledge and Maria Jürimäe is my dear mentor in this field. The atmosphere at her courses is very creative and fruitful.

What inspires you in paintings?

I love colors and silk as a material and the process of painting, but it has become by far more for me than a hobby just now. It is a way of life and joy in painting which I practice. Now I have started to observe nature and seasons and save the color palette in my memory. Quite often when seeing a lovely view or nice flower I think on my own: "How would it look like when painted on silk?" There are often flowers or motifs which talk to people. I called my Etsy shop SilkLetters because my paintings are like letters on silk to my audience about what I have seen or what I consider important.
Your favorite silk type, resist.

I like dyes fixed by steam by Pebeo and Marabou, I often use Marabou golden gutta which gives the scarves a more festive look. I get all my materials from our local sellers Vunder and Scanimpex.

If you have a family or kids or another job, how do you balance those and find time to paint?

My two children are grown-ups now and as soon as my daughter started with her own life I moved my painting studio into her former room. My husband made the frames for the scarves and so I was free to paint and experiment. I am a full time office worker and silk painting is such a pleasant change for me.
A tip for silk fans: 

I have tried several painting techniques and there’s a lot to discover, but wax batik technique is one of the most interesting one for me. When painting you’ll have to visualise the result and think in “layers” as you apply the colors and hot wax. There is always a “Wow!” effect after the wax has been removed. I've also tried painting without any resistant and this process may bring you to meditation, but sometimes you must react very quickly, depending how the colors behave. I think that every silk painter has had her “mistakes” which are actually our valuable lessons. Etsy has given me the opportunity to learn more about fabulous silk painters and introduce my work.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Artist Introduction- Claire

Say hello to one of our newest Etsy Team Members! Claire Bentley.

How did I start Silk painting... well, I have been surrounded by arts, crafts and in particular Embroidery all my childhood as my Mum is a very talented Embroiderer, which she teaches too. She used Silk painting as part of her work, so I had seen her do it, then embroider over the top. I had a go at Embroidery, but it wasn't for me and went in a completely different route, becoming a Jewellery Designer as my career, where I have stayed for the last 20 years.

I wanted to try something different and had done some internet research on silk painting, finding the most amazing painting. I have a passion of colour, so as a Christmas present a couple of years ago, my mum gave me a Silk painting kit.

I created a few paintings which hang on my walls at home, but I thought I would like to see if I could create some others with the views of selling them.

Inspiration comes from everywhere, my head is full of it and usually have too many ideas and can't get them down on paper quick enough. Nature is a big one, painting flowers and a few animals, but my 2 latest projects I am working on are a patterned VW camper van and Peter & Paul Catherdal in St Petersburg - just at the drawing stage, but very excited about getting the design onto silk!

I am a novice Silk painter and learn as I go, but I love it, especially when its colour time and the paint spreads into the silk!

Her Shop

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sarah Wisemen- Featured Artist
Introducing one of our newest members of the silk artist team on Etsy, Sarah Wisemen and her story how she got into silk painting.

I first tried silk painting about 15 years ago. I was staying with a friend whose mum is an art teacher, and she ran a silk painting workshop for us in her kitchen. I painted a gecko on a tree, surrounded by flowers, leaves, berries and ferns, and I loved the painting so much that I still have it on the wall of my living room today.

From that moment I was hooked. I went home and bought all the gear, and I’ve been painting on silk ever since. I usually paint wildlife and plants, and my paintings are inspired by the wildlife I have encountered in the UK, and on my travels in Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

I also paint in watercolour, and I’ve done watercolour illustrations for three children’s books, on trees, invertebrates and birds.

I live in Scotland, and I’ve worked for a variety of nature conservation organisations. When my last contract finished at the end of 2013, I decided to focus on painting and trying to sell my art. I’ve just opened my Etsy shop.

Website –