Newsletter – April 2010

I’d like to just say a few words about the  new video introduction.I had to do quite a few sound checks because there was no-one there to help out. It took a few takes to make sure I was centred properly in the viewfinder. But all the while I was trying to record this message, next door’s dog, which is pretty big, got wise to the fact that Lakshmi, our cat, was in the garden. So as I did my sound checks, etc, it kept jumping up on the wall and unnerving us. I picked up Lakshmi to show her to the camera, and I’m sure that dog just wanted in on the act for its moment of glory, perfectly positioned for the camera. :-) Here he is for all to see… (watch the top right corner)

He is big, isn’t he? Well, he came running over immediately after this and hung over the wall where I was sitting. Lakshmi leapt off in a great hurry and knocked over my stand, camera and all. My response is not on film but the camera survived, despite a few scratches. Yes, making films is definitely a tricky business but fun. :-)

And for the rest of this newsletter all cameras are switched off and we’re back to the written word. Which is also good fun. So here we go.


Okay, first of all, a few words to further clarify what I spoke about in the introduction. I am  offering a 1-hour skype session with demonstration then questions and answers to follow FREE OF CHARGE to 6 lucky participants. And how do you take part? Simply email me at with FREE SKYPE SESSION in the subject line. I will pop all names into a hat and draw 6 to work with me. You will then be given further details of how to take part.

Please note that you have to be on my mailing list to take part in this session. If not, just email me asking to receive the Silk & Art Newsletter as well as being put in the draw. (This is a legal requirement for mailouts.)

I am planning on offering regular Skype sessions with groups of participants for an hour an a time in the very near future so this first trial will give me lots of valuable feedback on how best to structure it for you, the participant. There will be a separate mailout with further details when it is all finalised.


One lovely development this month is that I have got going with some silk clothing. A few years ago I painted a couple of mandala ladies’ tops but haven’t done anything since then. So I decided to try my hand at making something completely from scratch.

Orange Silk Camisole Top

There are one or two of you who will remember me from my early days of dressmaking, something which I thought I had laid to rest. It’s great when you are able to draw on skills you learned in the past and didn’t think you needed any more. So I took out a length of crepe-de-chine which I had painted in soft tones of orange and set about cutting out a pattern for a camisole top. I painted a pattern on the front in gold gutta, iron fixed it and then sewed the top together.

Hand painted silk camisole top

It probably took me at least double the time it would take a regular sewer to complete the same job but I managed to bypass my perfection and reach my goal. And it brings me back to the year-long issue I had of never being able to buy clothes that fit me. By sewing a ’small’ in an over-the-counter pattern, I now have a top that doesn’t fit me and which is destined to find another home. If you or anyone you know is interested in purchasing it, please contact me. It’s a roomy small-medium. Click on the images twice and then you can click again to enlarge to see the details. So the next step for me is to make made-to-measure items, ensuring that I have gorgeous silk clothing that really fits.

And the plan is to design made-to-measure silk clothing for discerning customers. So watch this space. :-)


A big thank you to those of you who have found your way to our new group. It’s so true that Rome wasn’t built in a day and I find myself laying the path, brick by brick, painting by painting, person by person. I know that the foundations being laid now will support a strong, thriving group in the months and years to come. I just want to say once again, thank you so much for everyone who has joined and contributed artwork to our page. I appreciate it very much. Francine, our co-host, has been tied up in various projects until now but will be around more in the months to come. If any of you have suggestions as to how we could make our page better, please get in touch. I am very open to all ideas. In the meantime, if you haven’t done so, why not go and have a look at our page:

As many of you will know I have a portfolio on RedBubble which displays a  large number of my paintings, both acrylic and silk. RedBubble sells cards and prints of the works on show there and the whole process of ordering is very straight forward. Do come and visit me there and see what’s on offer.

My RedBubble Page


I have been busy digging around on the internet and researching possibilities for exhibiting and selling my work. Although the various venues still have to be confirmed, I have a couple of dates sorted and the rest are sure to materialise.

  • The first is the Spring Art Fair at the Trinity Centre in Trinity Road, BS2, Bristol. I have registered for Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th May, so if you are around, please come by and say hello and maybe treat yourself to some lovely bits and pieces. There will be music and food on hand, too, so you can relax and enjoy the weekend.
  • The next event I am hoping to take part in will be Sherborne Castle Fair. According to the organisers, the event is full, but they have a waiting list and a few slots for applicants who have interesting things to offer. I have made up an application and am allowing the universe to let me take part if appropriate. :-)
  • I have just received notification today that I can take part in the Easton Arts Trail even though I live in Downend. :-) I will be in St. Anne’s Church on the trail on June 12th and 13th. There are many artists exhibiting their work both in their homes and in public venues. Many local gardens are open participating in the garden show and you can listen to live music and find plenty to eat in the area, so I hope to see you there.
  • There will be others in Weston-Super-Mare, Clifton in Bristol, and maybe the Kite and Balloon Festival in Bristol. Also lined up to participate in Made In Bristol in the Colston Hall and other events they have.  I am also in dialogue with a couple of people regarding giving silk painting demonstrations for the public. I am a teacher and just love working with groups so this is all really up my street. These events are all still to be finalised and confirmed but I will keep you posted.

After a long break of being at home, I’m looking forward to taking my work back out again.


I mentioned a short while ago on the Silk & Art Facebook page that I was thinking of offering chakra mandala greeting cards.It’s always quite a big decision to have cards made in lithographic print as the minimum runs are usually 1,000 of a certain print size (14 designs fit on this area) and this can run into high figures when it comes to paying the bill. So I have taken the decision to have laser print cards made of my 7 chakra paintings. I will be selling these by myself as unfortunately there is no margin at all for selling them wholesale to retailers.

As an introductory special to everyone on my mailing list, I am offering them at £14 which is a 10% reduction on the normal price of £16 for a set of 7 cards.  Each card costs £2 instead of £2.50 which is a good saving.

To qualify for this offer, please contact me by email stating how many packs you would like and I will send you a PayPal invoice accordingly. I am hoping the first prints will arrive within 2-3 weeks depending on colour samples. I am holding this offer open until 15th May which is just under 4 weeks.

I’ve posted the 7 chakra images for you to look at here.  They are low resolution but I also have 5 of the 7 images on RedBubble in much higher resolution:

base chakra, mandala, silk painting, fiona stolze, silkandart

Base Chakra Mandala

sacral chakra, mandala, silk painting, fiona stolze, silkandart

Sacral Chakra Mandala

solar plexus chakra

Solar Plexus Chakra Mandala

heart chakra, silk painting, mandala, fiona stolze, silkandart

Heart Chakra Mandala

Throat Chakra

Throat Chakra Mandala

Third eye chakra, silk painting, mandala, fiona stolze, silkandart

Third Eye Chakra Mandala

crown chakra mandala, silk painting, mandala, fiona stolze, silkandart

Crown Chakra Mandala


With effect from today, I am offering a 10% reduction on every item in my Etsy shop to everyone on my mailing list. This offer will run for a month until May 15th. When you purchase an item, I will refund 10% of it to your account before shipping.

Just for fun here’s a peek into my cupboard with my bottles of silk dyes. :-) You can see all the steam-fix Dupont dyes as well as the

Bottles of silk dyes

MarabuSilk paints which I still use for things which I cannot put into the steamer. An example would be the round window pictures I paint. The silk is stretched onto a metal hoop. I paint these items and then fix them by giving them a good blast with the hairdryer.


It has come to my notice that despite many readers really enjoying and appreciating the free mandala templates that I publish each month, very few people have been confident enough to colour or paint them and submit them to this site. And that’s a shame as there are very many talented artists amongst you.

So…..I have decided to do the following. This month, there will be no new mandala. Instead I am asking you to look at the past 4 templates and select one which you would like to paint. You’ll find each of  the 4 templates in the past 4 newsletters, December through to March. Just click on image and then print it out. Please take a photograph of your completed work and submit it to me at

All submissions will be published on my blog on the Mandala Friends page which can hardly wait to see your new artwork. :-)

I will not only publish each entry but will also award a voucher for participation in one of my future online demonstrations to the best one. So all you need to do now is get going with your paint box and colour the mandala of your choice. The deadline for submissions is May 15th.

Q & A:

What’s the best way to frame my silk painting?

Well, there’s no right or wrong answer to this one, but there are very many answers. The first most obvious one is to put it in a frame behind glass. Now there is something you should be aware of. Framers normally don’t like to have to touch your silk and it has been my experience that they like you to stretch it on a backing board by yourself as they are afraid of damaging it.

  • So the simplest thing you can do is  buy a piece of hardboard and affix the silk on the reverse with tape.
  • For many, this is too inexact (I am one of them) and so the next step is to buy an adhesive mounting board and carefully attach the silk, taking care you remove all air bubbles as you go. This is a whole art in itself.
  • Another possibility is to lay the silk onto the board and push pins into the edges, top, bottom, left and right. You can then flip it over with the reverse upwards. Using a very fine brush, glue the first 1cm along the edge and gently pull the silk edge over and press it in place. You have to carefully mitre the corners.
  • Another option is to buy spray glue and very thinly spray a layer on the board. When it has become tacky, carefully attach the silk. Get someone to help you so that you can unroll it and smooth it bit by bit as you go, removing the air bubbles. You can fold the excess silk over to the reverse and tape it in place.
  • You could also try varnishing your silk painting which makes it resistent to UV rays and dirt. The downside is that you lose the soft original feel of the silk which gives it a completely different character.
  • If you want to keep the silky feel, try stretching the silk over a chunky canvas and stapling it on the bag to secure it. I have written a tutorial on this one and you can find it on my blog under the title : How to Stretch Your Silk Painting on a Canvas Frame in 10 Easy Steps. That’s the way I do my mandalas pictures with the gutta embellishments. I put my mandala originals behind glass.
  • And then you could always make a hanger out of it or back it with core foam.

So there are very many possibilities open to you. Allow your creativity free reign and see what you come up with. Have fun.

Are there any special brushes you need to buy for painting on silk?

Actually no. I have a wide selection of different types of brushes that I use for different effects. Any brush that you would buy and use for water colours is perfect for silk painting. When you are starting out it is a good idea to have a couple of very fine brushes, a couple of medium and a couple of chunky brushes. You could also get yourself a very wide one which is great for doing washes on larger areas. Make sure you always have a large jar of clean water beside you as you work and keep the brushes clean as you paint. The dye or paint gets sucked up inside the part of the brush where the bristles are bound together and it has a nasty habit of dripping down again when you least expect it. I wrote an article entitled How to Keep Your Silk Painting Brushes Clean, which you can read here.


I have offered 2 more dates for full day workshops, one for beginners and the other for creating a personal mandala. You can read the full details here.

I am now also offering short, messy, fun workshops which will last 3 hours. These are my Silk Scarf Painting Workshops where we will work without frames, using our hands as creative tools and fixing the final pieces in the microwave. I have offered both an evening one and a day-time one to see what works. See here for details.

As mentioned above, the Skype sessions may well extend beyond demonstrations to conducting online workshops at some point not too distant. I will keep you posted.


Red as a Brick by Jean-Louis Mireault

I’m going to dedicate a space in each newsletter to a painting that I particularly like by another artist. And for this month I’d like to start with one favourite of mine. It’s called “Red as a Brick” and was painted by a very accomplished artist called Jean-Louis Mireault, who lives in Canada and has been very instrumental in promoting silk painting on a global level.

Just as I think of The Return of the Sister Bride as my signature painting, this is the one that sticks out in my mind with Jean-Louis’ artwork. I so love the way the red bricks are mirrored in the red plumage of the little birds in the foreground. Very atmospheric. If you’d like to see more of Jean-Louis’ work and find out about all amazing things he is involved in,  have a look at his website: It’s well worth a visit. :-)

Summary of services I offer which you may be interested in:

Commissions: Please contact me if you would like to have me create a mandala on silk for you or any other silk project that you care to dream of. Call me and we can discuss making it a reality.

Silk Gifts: I create and sell a very wide range of silk cushions with and without mandalas, wall hangings, framed pictures, scarves, and now clothing. :-) Please look at my website for some more ideas:

Silk Painting Demonstrations: If you would like me to come and do a silk painting demonstration at your venue or for a group, please give me a call on +44 7873384933 or email me at:

Silk Steam Fixing – done on an ongoing basis. Please read the details on the page concerned and contact me if you would like to send me your silk.

RedBubble: a virtual gallery where you can display some of your best work and sell various types of prints. Here is a link to my page.

Workshops: see above.

Etsy Shop: I opened this online shop a few weeks back and have listed a selection of items for sale. Please browse and see if there’s anything you’d like. Remember to take advantage of the 10% discount on offer for a month.

Silk & Art Facebook Page: This is the space where I keep you up to date  with what’s going on on a daily basis. Thank you to all of you who have joined and a big thank you to all of you who will be joining at some point soon. There is only a small cross-over between this newsletter and the Facebook page so both are  serving a purpose. If you would like to come and see what is going on, just follow this link:

Forums: Silk Painting Gallery Network started up by Francine Dufour Jones, a very talented silk artist who lives in Alaska and who is my co-host on RedBubble. Do pop by and have a look:

Well, I think that’s about it for another month. I hope that this has been of help and interest to you and as always, I would love you to leave feedback and let me know what you think of this month’s edition. Please also use the space below for any suggestions you may have. I’m open to hearing what you have to say.

Blessings to all of you and enjoy the sun wherever you are.

Fiona :-) x

3 Responses to “Newsletter – April 2010”

  1. Ena Lynch says:

    Hi Fiona,

    I so enjoy recieving you newsletter. It is colourful and informative. I have met you at events in Ireland in the past and I thought you lived here. Was I mistaken or have you moved? I am interested in your steam service(it is what can turn me off silk painting is the steaming process and I am afraid of ruining a pierce doing it myself) but this is probably not an option if you live in England.

    Thank you for your letter and good luck with all your projects.

    Kind regards

    • Fiona says:

      Hi Ena

      Lovely to hear you enjoy the newsletters so much. And yes, we moved away from Ireland a few months ago. However, with regards the steaming, that is not a hurdle. You can still pop your silk in a bubble envelope to me and have it steamed quite quickly. Contact me by email and we organise how to do it quickly and easily.

      Thanks for your good wishes.


  2. Fiona says:

    I have written a reply to a post left by Nicolette Rosanowski, submitted in the comment box when you click on the first camisole top picture. It gives details on the camisole, price indications and how I intend to proceed with these items. Please have a look if you are interested.

    Thank you for all your responses by email and other methods. I really appreciate it.

    Fiona :-) x

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