Archive for June, 2009

Latest News from Silk & Art

A big welcome to everyone to the new look newsletter from Silk & Art. It has taken just a little bit longer than planned so thank you for being really patient.

On the left side there are links to the various things that are on offer from Silk & Art and over on the right are some glimpses of topics that we will be looking at together over the next few months.

I wanted to get this edition sent out to you all before I disappear on my summer break to the other side of the globe, sunny Victoria in B.C. Canada. It would be really nice if some of you had some time and space to explore silk painting for yourselves and discovered how rewarding it can be.

Very often I get asked how expensive it is to get kitted out with a full set of tools for silk painting. Well, to be honest, you can spend a lot of money if you really want to, however, there are ways to buy what you need on a shoestring budget and that way you can find out if you enjoy this hobby enough to want to wade in a bit deeper and invest in more items for your toolkit. I’m sure most of you have spent money on things that you didn’t really end up using properly. So….here are some tips I hope will be useful for you if you are embarking on your silk painting adventure for the first time.



  • Buy yourself some wood from the local DIY store. You can then knock 4 equal lengths together with some nails and voila! No need to invest in a specialist frame with notches at this point.
  • Use drawing pins to affix your silk. The 3-pronged pins can wait until later.
  • Best paintbrushes to use are simple watercolour ones. Get a small, medium and large one. I will talk about different types of brushes in a future letter.
  • Buy yourself some Habotai or Pongee silk in quality 12. The lower the number, the cheaper the silk will be. 5 is the thinnest you can get. See if you can buy one of those ready made 90cm x 90cm scarves with the rolled edges. Fold it in half, snip in the folded edge with scissors and rip the two halves apart with your hands, using the scissors for the other edge. Repeat this for each half and you will have enough for 4 pictures measuring 45cm x 45cm. Excellent for experimenting with.
  • Get yourself a small pack of beginners silk dye tubs. Make sure you buy iron fix dyes as you will need specialist equipment to fix the steam dyes.
  • You can also play for a bit at the start with other paint on the silk. Yes, I use special dyes for the silk, however, who says you have to do this. At my sons’ previous school in England I saw the students in the art department painting with acrylics and watercolours on the silk. The finished effect was lovely. You wouldn’t then fix these paints into the silk and would have to just make sure they didn’t get wet as they wouldn’t be permanent. But for the beginner phase, this is ideal.

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As with every type of business, you learn as you go and this has certainly been the case with Silk & Art. Customers’ needs dictate how we develop our service and this helps us to be of more help to you and provide products that are of great use to you.

I just wanted to share with you two new developments that have arisen out of this situation.

(1) Order printed and hand-guttaed silk mandala prints as separate panels: and this is how you benefit -

  • order them at a lower price than that of the finished picture or cushion and
  • you can then incorporate them into your own personal project for a completely unique look.

So if you would like to have any of the mandalas featured on the website as a flat panel, we will now be offering a facility for you to do this. Please let us know if this interests you.

silk mandala cushions

(2) Order the mandala cushion covers on their own, without the duck feather padding or fancy box with ribbon. The huge advantage to you here is -

  • you save massively on postage costs if the gift packaging is not so important to you.
  • you buy at a lower price than the padded, packaged version

We will be putting details of both of these new offers on the website as soon as possible. Do approach us in the meantime if you would like to take advantage of these services as they are available now.

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Q & A’s:

Is there any risk of permanent staining when I use silk dyes and gutta?

Yes, there is, I’m afraid. Make sure you put down some plastic sheeting as dyes can make a real mess of your carpet. Also, watch out when using gutta. The metallic ones ( I use gold gutta most of the time) can easily get onto your cuffs without you noticing. When it dries, you have a permanent glitter fixture to your jumper! So roll up your sleeves, or better still, wear something that can get marked and you won’t be upset about.

How can I keep my hand steady when applying the gutta so the lines don’t go wobbly?

I always recommend you lean your arm against the frame itself, talking care that you aren’t smearing over any areas you have already worked on. But more importantly, use your breath. just take a breath in, and breathe out gently as you apply the lines. That really makes a difference. However, the more practice you get, the steadier your hand gets.

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Okay, I am intending to be in touch with you regularly now and will be sharing ideas around different techniques and general “How to’s…”

Do have a great summer and I look forward to publishing next month’s isse.

Warm wishes


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