Tessa Spanton SWA Artist, tutor, writer


Welcome to my blog.
This is where I write about some of the things that inspire my work,
news of exhibitions and works in progress

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Problems with Water Soluble Outliner/Gutta in Silk Painting


Recently I have had a problem with Pebeo's gold outliner (shown above) coming off at the final washing stage. I have noticed too that other silk painters are posting about it on the internet.

I have used this product for years without a problem. I usually iron fix a silk painting as soon as it is finished then wash it before ironing again and framing. However recently I finished a painting that had taken a long time to do and was not happy to see some of the carefully applied gold lines floating off in the water. This had not happened before. Usually it is the reverse, if a bit of the gold gets on clothing or the wrong part of the work, it is practically impossible to remove.
I rescued the work and reapplied the lines.


On Pebeo's website there is a PDF about the product. It says leave for 2 days after iron fixing before washing. As I have not had this problem before I can only guess that maybe the product has changed. It would be helpful if Pebeo printed this on the tube.

For many years I have used water based outliners ('gutta') for resist lines when painting on silk.
 I have tried lots of different makes. I prefer them to spirit based gutta as they are odourless. The clear water based version can be removed with water whereas the spirit based one is removed by dry cleaning or solvent.

However the water based ones are not without other problems. They are more likely to leak especially when working very wet.
Sometimes there is a small gap in the gutta or the extra wetness starts to dissolve the line and allow colour to seep through.Often though it is just that the silk has become over saturated and over loaded so the colour spills over the line like when you try to carry an overfull teacup.

With some makes the metallic versions keep well in their tubes. Others don't they either become too thick and unusable or they separate in the tube so that when you come to use them a lot of clear liquid oozes out. They can't be stirred when in the tube,  you can try massaging the tube with the lid on but this doesn't usually help much.
I had one tube of Javanna metallic glitter that oozed clear liquid from the first time I used it leaving the metallic bits behind. It never worked properly and was probably past it when I bought it.
On the other hand I found a tube of  AV Vallejo black outliner which I bought about 25 years which is still working fine.

My recommendations

I am currently using Marabu contours and effects. Available from Silkcrafts
I have clear, gold, silver and a metallic glitter which has not separated. It is available in a squeezey bottle. The nozzle produces a fairly thick line so I attach a metal nib with a finer nozzle. The bottle is refillable from a larger container which makes it more economical.

Wax or solvent based gutta work best but both need an extra process to remove.
 I don't use solvent based gutta because of the smell.
I like using beeswax. It flows easily from a tjanting or kiska to give delicate lines or can be brushed, sponged or stamped on. I bought it from the local bee keepers group. Or you can get batik wax online.
Other silk painters speak well of Resistad which is only available mail order from New Zealand. I have some but haven't tried it yet.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve Cake

Christmas Eve Cake

I called it Christmas eve cake as I made it on Christmas Eve to start eating on Christmas eve. It's an experimental mix of various recipes I have used plus a Madeiran touch. Mel-de-Cana is a thick syrup from dark sugar cane molasses made from the sugar cane grown on the island of Madeira. pictures here
Bolo de mel is a cake made on the island that includes Mel-de-Cana.

8 oz mixed dried fruit soaked in 1 glass Madeira wine with
2 tsp dried mixed spice
2oz pecans chopped
4 oz butter
2 oz Mel-de-Cana or black treacle
2 large eggs beaten
8oz self raising flour

Melt the butter and treacle together for about 30 secs in the microwave.
Add the fruit mixture and pecans and stir well.
It should be cool enough to add the eggs then stir again.
Add the flour and gently stir it in.
Put the mixture in a 7in sq or 8in round greased tin and bake in a low oven, mine was ready after 1 hour.
When cool dust with icing sugar.
I used a buttered fluted tin and put flaked almonds in the bottom.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Poinsettias on Silk Greetings Cards

                                     Poinsettia on silk (c) Tessa Spanton

Silk Painted Greetings Cards Demonstration
I have written a step by step demo for Leisure Painter magazine Jan 2015 out Dec 6th on painting poinsettias on silk for greeting cards. The magazine is also available to buy online as a PDF from here

Silk Painting Starter Kit
I have also put together a kit with the basics needed for this project coming in at under £10.
The kit would be ideal for beginners, adults or children and would make a nice little gift or stocking filler.
 Update the kit is no longer available to buy from Silkcraft but the component parts are:  Silkcraft's own make ironfix paints, silk, gutta, and freezer paper. If you phone and explain I am sure Alison can help. 01246 290179
They are also available to buy at my classes.

The kit contains 3 mixable silk paints, some silk, backing paper for mounting the silk to for working on, gold outliner and a card mount. There is plenty of paint to make several cards or other projects.
You can add to the order for no extra postage, if you want more card mounts these are available to but or you could use plain card instead. Although not needed for this project a bottle of pink iron fix paint would be a useful addition for other projects.
There are full instructions in the article.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A Round the World Blog Hop

My latest work  Hand painted Silk Scarf Poppies steam fixed in the microwave and for sale on etsy here

Cath Stonard whose blog is stitchclothcolour invited me to follow on from her post.

It must be about 30 years ago that I met Cath. I was in awe of her watercolours and book illustrations. Years later we met up again at The Corner Gallery in Carshalton Beeches where we both show our work. Cath had moved on to working with textiles, quilting, embroidering, embellishing with the same creative energy and flair as I saw in her watercolours. I have just bought 2 of her works from the Corner Gallery.
We both started blogging at around the same time so I keep in touch with what she's making there and now through our Facebook pages too. As you will see if you hop on over to her blog she's full of new ideas and now working more in the direction of mixed media.

I have loved drawing and painting from an early age. I remember drawing on the wall paper behind the door when I was about 4 and then hoping my parents wouldn't notice, they did. From my teenage years I rummaged through the markets in the Midlands for dressmaking projects and have been a bit of a farbricaholic ever since. For years I have painted watercolours and then took up silk painting. It combines my love of painting and working with textiles.
Yesterday I painted 3 new silk scarves. One of them I sold online via my shop on  etsy, one of them is in the Corner Gallery and the other is shown at the top of this post.
I am also experimenting with marbling techniques on silk.

Much of the time I am dreaming up new ideas or collecting new art materials or techniques. I work on things in bursts and like to have a few juggling balls in the air, juggling between painting, writing and teaching watercolour and silk painting. When the classes are on holiday I might focus on creating a group of paintings for an exhibition and also have more time to go out collecting reference by looking, sketching, painting or taking photos.

This brings me on to the  bloggers that I would like to nominate, do hop on over to have a look at their blogs

I first met Helen when I went to her for lampwork lessons. I was fascinated by the process, admired her gorgeous beads and made some of my own which I wrote about here 
Her crafting began with tiara making and she now quilts, paper crafts and teaches these skills so do hop on over to her blog to find out more.

The next blogger to introduce is Stephanie Guy http://www.stephanieguy.co.uk/

I met Stephie online through Folksy, where we both have shops. Stephie paints and over the 2 or 3 years I have known her the paintings have got smaller and smaller. She is currently writing a series of articles for a magazine about how to paint little paintings for dolls' houses. Stephie's post will be in January.

I would also like to include Andrea Neidle whose blog is called My Life in Poems https://andreaneidle.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/my-favourite-blogs/

I met Andrea  on holiday a few years ago and we exchanged blog addresses. Her poems gently gather up into words some of the times in her life, sometimes celebratory, poignant or moving that resonate with some of the times in my life.
You may have heard her reading her poems on the radio.
Andrea nominated my blog for the Leibster Award.