Today I have the honor of introducing you to one of the artists who has most inspired me. When I first learned of Etsy and began considering selling my scarves there I fell in love with her shop and her silk art. She is a true artist, and her paintings always amaze me with their exquisiteness. Hope you enjoy getting to know her through this interview as much as I have.
Although I’ve never had any formal training, art in some form has always been part of my life. I grew up in Toronto Canada, moved to the States and have lived near Atlanta since 1965. I’m a retired flight attendant, mother of two and grandmother of three. I’ve always painted….mostly watercolors
Why silk painting?
Your story about how you began painting silk and what you do in this field now, etc.
I had the original Tuckman/Janus “Art of Silk Painting” book for years and that was always my goal. We finally built our studio 5 years ago and I knew the first time I dropped dye onto silk and watched all the magical movement, that this is what I wanted to do. I was fortunate to connect online with the wonderful silk painter, Karen Sistek (www.karensistekstudio.com). She couldn’t have been more gracious and generous in her encouragement. Fast forward to today: I’m creating and selling my silk wraps through my Silk Siren shop on Etsy
What inspires your paintings
We live out in the country on a lake where I have the trees, flowers, birds and all of nature around to inspire me, and the peace and quiet to let me focus and create.
Your favorite silk painting you have done
My favorite was probably one I did on silk satin that featured three large jungle cat heads: a tiger, leopard and puma. I normally paint florals so this was quite a stretch and it turned out beautifully. It was hard to part with that one when it sold. I’d have to say my signature design is large florals painted in a loose watercolor style where I let the dyes run and blend without resist.
I’ve developed my own method of silk painting simply thru trial and error…much of it similar to watercolor technique. I tried resist but quickly realized I wasn’t an “inside the lines” type personality. I use thickened dye where I want control or a hard edge, otherwise I like to let the dye run and blend on the silk. I prefer to paint on chiffon. I use Jacquard Red Label dyes from Dharma and a few Tinfix colors as well.
Please share a tip for other silk artists or those interested in silk art
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on a parrot tulip wrap for my dear friend Karen Sistek who was chosen as the signature artist for a prestigious tulip festival. Karen requested a tulip themed silk to wear for the festival.
I started my Etsy shop, Silk Siren, about four years ago and it’s been a wonderful venue for me. I don’t do shows, or blog or market my silks anywhere else. I’ve been fortunate to have my silks “discovered” quickly and I have a loyal following of clients who return again and again. The fact that Etsy is a global marketplace has given me the exposure resulting in shipping my silks to a worldwide clientele.
My suggestions for anyone thinking of selling on Etsy would be:
1. Do your research and find a niche. You must have a unique product.
2. Offer a professional product for good value.
3. Provide outstanding customer service
4. Connect to your buyer with great photos and inviting descriptions.