Tessa Spanton SWA Artist, tutor, writer


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This is where I write about some of the things that inspire my work,
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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Silk Scarf Painting Affordable Art Fair London and Tutorial

This scarf is back from the microwave and this is the first glimpse of how it turned out.

I tutored 2 groups sponsored by fashion house Gudrun Sjoden at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea London. We used Arty's Quick Colour and ponge 5 silk scarves.
 Over 2 sessions of around 1 hour each about 34 damp silk scarves were folded, twisted or scrunched and painted using the dye direct from the little nozzles on the tubes of colour. This product though a bit pricey compared with some steam fix paints is very convenient and useful for groups where time and space is limited as you don't need paint brushes, pots or palettes.
 The colours were fixed in a squad of microwaves up on another level and ferried up, microwaved and brought back by a team of helpers. The damp scarves were wrapped in paper towels, placed in a plastic microwavable container and microwaved for about 3 minutes. I have put more info at the bottom of this post.

You will need
Silk scarf  Chinese silk Pongee 5 weight and Arty's Quick Colour steam fixable dye
disposable gloves
plastic sheet to work on
microwavable container eg plastic take away container or glass Pyrex bowl
kitchen paper or couch roll

Remove the label from the scarf.
Wet the scarf and blot off excess water. Then EITHER
1. Scrunch it into a loose ball
2.Twist it along it's length till it folds back on itself
3. Fold it in 4 lengthwise
Drip colours on straight from the bottle. They will spread and mix slowly.
For 1 or 2 do this in the microwavable container. For 1 squish the ball to help the colour spread. Open it up and apply more colour as needed then screw it up and squish it again.
For 3  Place flat on polythene and when you have applied the colour, sandwich carefully between sheets of kitchen paper, loosely roll it up then transfer to the container.

Fixing the colour
These dyes can be made permanent by fixing from damp in the microwave.
Place a sheet of kitchen roll in a microwavable container, put the damp scarf on that and cover with another piece of kitchen roll. Or for 1 and 2 wrap in cling film and secure loosely with a rubber band. Microwave on medium heat for around 3 minutes till dry. Open the package after about 2 min, take care because of the hot steam. If you used method 1 open the scarf out and re scrunch so that any damper parts are on the outside of the ball. Methods 2 and 3 just turn the package over. Now microwave in 30 sec bursts and check the silk. If it's still damp the colour won't be properly fixed. WARNING if you microwave for much time after the silk is dry the silk may become scorched or the plastic container may start to melt and leave bits of molten plastic on the silk. So keep checking till the silk is just dry.

If the work had already dried before it was fixed it can't be microwaved. Instead wrap it loosely in foil and steam it like a pudding for about 1 hour. Make sure the parcel is water tight and don't let the pot boil dry.
Rinse, blot in a towel and iron damp.

If you would like details of silk painting classes, my work and exhibitions or to contact me go to  www.saa.co.uk/art/tessaspanton or find me on facebook www.facebook.com/tessaspantonartist  


Art In Wax said...

Great post Tessa and wonderful scarves :-)

Stephanie Guy Fine Art said...

Your students created some gorgeous scarves there Tessa! I've never tried that technique, must give it a go sometime.

Margaret Eggleton said...

That's so exiting, Tessa and what wonderful results.

DemyBlackDesign said...

It's interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of using a microwave for silk painting. It looks like a very successful workshop with some beautiful results.