Archive for January, 2010

Newsletter – January 2010

A very happy new year to one and all. Well, this year has certainly started off very snowy, hasn’t it? As I look out of the window,I see the garden thick with snow. The temperatures don’t climb above zero during the day and there is more snow on the way. It makes for lovely walks in the park but I have to get really wrapped up and keep moving. I’ve been inspired to get the camera out and take lots of pictures, so here are one or two I wanted to share with you.

Tim balancing a snowball on his head..


Tim in our back garden

And how have things been developing on the silk painting front? It’s surprising how many notes I have here on my desk of things that I want to include in this newsletter despite the fact that I didn’t think I had done too much apart from munching mince meat pies. It just goes to show how much you can achieve when you aren’t trying to. :-)

So here to start with is an overview of the topics you’ll be reading about in this newsletter:

Latest creations and Valentine’s day – silk painting workshops – steam fixing service – new RedBubble page – – a new free mandala template – Q&A

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Here is some of the artwork I have been painting over the past few weeks since the acrylicyellowtunnel2last newsletter. I must admit that I am finding time to dabble more and more in acrylics and have created another abstract which I had great pleasure painting. I applied lots of the paint using palette knives which was a great physical experience. In the silk painting arena I have a new rainbow mandala which I created doing some tie-dye and then applying gold gutta and painting a yellow background. You can probably just make out the OM in the centre. I hadlatest-silkslowres great fun doing that and am intending to explore this more. I am also making lots of cushions, one of which is a Valentine’s Day one since February 14th is just around the corner. I put it all together yesterday evening and here you can see the before and after pictures of it. This cushion is now available for sale at a price of £56 for the cover only, or £65 with pad and gift box with ribbon. If you’d like to have one for February 14th please let me know as soon as possible.

**Extra feature: you can have any gold text added that you wish. A special message

Valentine's' Day silk cushion

Valentine's' Day silk cushion

for the one you love. Or perhaps just their name to completely personalise the cushion. The boxed version will be sent out by courier in a 2 day service. For more exact details please look at the Valentine’s Day Silk Cushion post in my blog. Please contact me in the meantime if you would like to order now and I can forward you the information you need.

And on second thought, this would make an ideal gift for a loved one any time of the year.

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I wanted to start off by mentioning the new silk painting workshops. I’ll be offering regular dates for (1) beginners sessions with some basic techniques and (2) creating mandalas. For logistical reasons these groups will be limited to 4 at a time. Yes, the space is smaller now but every bit as nice and creative to work in. We will do our silk painting together in my art attic. Nice and cosy.

Here are the details:

Silk Painting for Beginners: learn some basic silk painting techniques including resist, salt and tracing templates.

Dates: Saturday, 30th January and Saturday 27th February

Time: 10am – 4pm

Cost: £45 including all materials

Please bring a packed lunch. Drinks are provided.


Create Your Own Mandala: under my guidance you will create your personal mandala during the day, experimenting with motifs and colours and giving your creativity free flow.

Date: Saturday, 6th February

Time: 10am – 4pm (approx.)

Cost: £49 including all materials

Please bring a packed lunch. Drinks are provided.

* Booking is essential for these events. Address given on registration.

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I mentioned in the last newsletter that I was going to introduce a steam fixing service for silk painting. That project is now starting and will be offered as follows:

Since I have no idea to begin with how much demand there will be, I am planning to start with offering a steam fixing day once a month. Depending on how popular it is, I will then extend this to a fortnightly or even weekly service as time goes by.

I’ve put together some guidelines for those of you who would like to make use of this to avoid any misunderstandings and to keep things nice and tidy in general so please make sure you read these through before you submit any work.

Steam fixing is only for those of you who have steam fix dyes and are either unable or unwilling to create your own makeshift steamer, and who cannot and don’t want to invest in a professional steamer.

What sort of work cannot be accepted?

  • Anything painted with iron-fix dyes
  • Anything with colourful gels (non-standard guttas, etc) as these cannot be fixed and will smear all over your work spoiling it.
  • Anything with glitter and other materials attached.
  • Anything with salt remains on it.
  • Window pictures or any other structured item, only silk panels, please.

I do insist that you tell me what type of dyes you have used as any cheap, substandard dyes may produce substandard fixing results. My professional steamer will make an excellent job of fixing your dyes in your silk provided you keep to the guidelines laid out here.

This is what you need to do: make sure if you have used any gutta that you fix it with your iron from the reverse. Brush away all salt residues. Put your piece of silk in a small plastic bag. A sandwich bag would be ideal for this. This is to safeguard against any dampness when in transit to me. Place this bag into a bubble envelope together with a slip of paper with your full name and address, telephone number and email if possible. That way I can contact you quickly if anything needs to be discussed.

Next you should send me an email telling me that you are going to send your silk to me for steaming. This is for two reasons. Firstly I will give you my postal address. Secondly this means that I will be watching out for your silk. Your plastic bag and bubble envelope will be recycled. I will send you an email invoice by PayPal to cover the costs involved and off we go.

You should receive your silk back within 5 working days of the steam fixing date.So if the date is set for a Friday, you should have your work back by the following Friday, allowing for normal postal delivery.

When I have steamed your silk art work, I will allow it to cool and then package it for return to you. I will not be washing or ironing anyone’s silk. That is up to you, the artist, to see to yourself.

The cost of this service is £4 per metre. This is in case I am only steaming one person’s silk at the start. As larger numbers of people take advantage of the steaming, I will be able later to offer a reduction in the near future. I will keep you posted. :-)

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I am thrilled to share with you that I now have an artist’s page on the RedBubble website. Some of you may be familiar with this and others may not have heard of it. Its a website that allows artists to set up a profile with artwork they are proud of. Anyone can leave comments and buy any image as a card, print, framed picture, etc. The great thing is that RedBubble sees to the whole process of printing and shipping. The artist receives a commission for every sale. I have also uploaded a couple of mandalas and popped them on t-shirts. I’ll be writing a bit more about this in the blog too. So all in all, great for giving artists coverage and letting them receive feedback from other artists. My page is still in quite the early stages, but you can look at it on RedBubble by clicking on the images below.

Buy my art

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When I published the first free mandala template last month I got feedback from some of you that you might submit your painted mandala. I was soooooo hoping you all would. However, this feature is still in its early days and this month we had 3 entries which I would like to post on the blog and let everyone enjoy.

They came from 3 boys who go to school in Lindau in the south of Germany beside Lake Constance, a beautiful area. They attend the State Middle School for Boys in Lindau. I met their teacher, Nicole Schielen of class 6b, briefly when I first arrived in Ireland a few years ago. She gave her class of boys the mandala to colour in during a story lesson and they said they would like to have their work put up on the site. So it is with great pleasure that I am including these first submissions here in a place of honour in the newsletter as well as on a dedicated page on the site called Mandala Friends.


I am thrilled they have done this and would like to congratulate them as being this month’s joint winners. They will be receiving a pack of mandala cards for their combined wonderful efforts. Thank you for your lovely work.

And here we have the next free mandala template for you to download and paint.mandala002

I am looking forward to the gallery of mandalas growing and would like to heartily invite everyone to get out their silk dyes or colouring pencils and submit this month’s mandala by February 15th. The winner will receive 20% off a pack of mandala cards, a cushion or a stretched picture.

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Q & A

Can I steam my silk even if I have used iron-fix dyes?

No, absolutely not. Please make sure you are clear about what types of dyes you are using. It will be clearly written on the packaging. The acid-based steam fix dyes are quite clear and thin. The steaming actually bonds the dyes with the fabric. The iron-fix dyes are very matte looking and have a sort of gluggy consistency. They are made permanent through direct heat. You cannot interchange them.

Can I apply gutta after I have fixed my silk dyes?

Yes, this is something I do very often. There is one very big difference in the final effect. Gutta applied beforehand acts as a barrier to the dye being applied in that it stops it flowing freely across the silk. These lines are very prominent in your finished work. When you apply the gutta afterwards, you are adding fine details. These markings will not be nearly so visible and are more of an accent. It is also more difficult to apply gutta to fixed silk as the nozzle is moving over dyed silk and can jump a bit.

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I haven’t had time today to add a review on iron-fix dyes. It’s in the making and I promise to send it on to you as an addendum as soon as I can. But I wanted to get the newsletter out on time and so have made that a priority.

Take care and be as creative as you can. I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm wishes


2 Responses to “Newsletter – January 2010”

  1. Nicolette Rosanowski says:

    As you can see, I have received your newsletter without any problems whatsoever. There is no need to try a new way of getting to this newsletter because it worked the first time.
    I never cease to be amazed at what you have achieved in the past – what – ten years? This is so far from our inlingua days, your smart PA days and your translating days. It is wonderful to see and I enjoy reading about your products and what you create. I have enjoyed sending people the cards you create. The post office in Germany didn’t enjoy sending them though because the size is not standard. Is there any way you can make the cards smaller and rectangular rather than square?
    I look forward to receiving your next newsletter.

  2. Fiona says:

    Hi Nicolette

    Lovely to hear from you. I’m glad you enjoy the newsletter and that the cards are being appreciated.

    Here’s a suggestion for getting around the format question: go into my RedBubble page and see the images I have there. Either click on the banner above or follow this link: They sell the artwork as rectangular cards with the square image in centre. I haven’t been doing it that long and so haven’t got too many pieces of art uploaded. However, I am working on it constantly and hope to have a large range on offer very soon. So click on All Art then select an image. When this window opens, select Buy/Preview and you should see images of the final products.

    See what you think. You can buy them individually as cards, posters, framed prints, etc Even as t-shirts. Let me know if there are any particular images you would be interested in and I can easily and effortlessly put them in. Since it is their business, the artists earn a small commission, but it’s a good way of getting more coverage and spreading the word.

    Take care, Nicolette and thanks for the valuable feedback. :-)

    Love Fiona

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