Archive for June, 2010

June Newsletter

Here we are just past the Summer Solstice, with blue skies and sunny days heralding a lovely warm summer. And I realise it’s been quite a while since I last put pen to paper and shared with you the various things I have been up to. If you didn’t get a newsletter in May, it’s because there wasn’t one. :-)

Peony Roses - Fiona Stolze

Peonies on the garden table

It’s amazing how everything can get networked on the internet these days. Despite my attempts to link everything up, I’m aware that the various readers of this newsletter don’t all know that I run a FaceBook Silk & Art page, just as not everyone who knows my website knows that I run a silk painting blog. I’m now on Twitter and have also started a couple of new blogs on Blogspot, not to mention my Etsy and Folksy shops or my RedBubble gallery. So I’m trying to make sure now that I link all of these up as much as I can so that people like yourself can easily transition from one to the other.

Well it’s really hot today. In fact, it’s supposed to be the hottest day of the year so far, hitting 30 degrees celcius plus. Yummy. I’m sitting out in the garden writing this post and next door neighbour’s dog keeps popping his friendly face over the wall to say hello. You’ll remember him from the video in the last newsletter. Well, in the meantime we are on first name terms. He’s called Eric. :-) He was so good on film and his timing was perfect, wasn’t it?  But unfortunately I’m not able to add any videos to this issue as my server has reached full capacity and I am taking steps to make changes so that I can continue expanding in the weeks and months to come. So for the time being we’ll have to make do with text and photos again.

ART FAIRS IN AND AROUND BRISTOL

So what have I been up to since you last heard from me? Well, I’ve been attending a few fairs around Bristol. The first one was in the Trinity Centre mid May and I’m just going to pass on that one. I then went down to Sherborne Castle Country Fair for May 31st. That was a lot of fun, masses of people thronging through the stalls and hundreds of dogs panting along in the heat. It was quite an early start and as usual, I didn’t really have everything all packed up and ready to go first thing in the morning. One of the highlights of that day was meeting a fabulous (and I mean fabulous) portrait artist called Annabelle Valentine who paints in oils using photos sent to her. Her website doesn’t really do proper justice to her amazing talent to create stunningly accurate images of the faces she is commissioned to paint. Some of her best work isn’t even on the site.  Please look her up and consider contacting her the next time you want a special gift. Here’s her website.:  http://www.wix.com/annabelleart/annabelleart

Fiona Stolze demonstrating silk painting in Bristol

Demonstrating silk painting in Easton

Next on the agenda was the Easton Arts Trail which is actually outwith my neck of the woods. However, when I contacted the organisers they said I could join in. How nice of them. So I had a stand there for the weekend of June 12th – 13th and an extra table for doing demonstrations. That was really fun. I took my new microwave along and showed people over the two days how to make their own silk scarves and do a quick fix by nuking them. This is something you can only do with soaking well silk, not to be tried out with gutta designs and anything that has dried. These pieces have to be fixed in a 3-hour steam bath. But it does make you wonder how the wet scarves can be fixed in 5 minutes…? I have decided to offer this now as a party service. You can hire me out for a few hours to do some fun demonstration and everyone goes home with their own self made designer scarf. Further info on silk painting parties here.

I’m gearing up now for the “Made in Bristol” event which is being held for the third time now  in Colston Hall. I’ll be taking part only on the Saturday. The art and craft stalls are set up in the huge foyer arranged around over 3 floors. Each one is quite compact so it will be a great exercise in focussing and going for the essentials. If you are around, do pop by and say hello. It is always great to see familiar faces.- “Made in Bristol”

I’m already looking at making bookings for some of the shows on later in the year as they fill up so quickly. These include the Tobacco Factory, Paintworks and Colston Hall again for Christmas.

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NEW LOOK FOR THE BLOG

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve changed the look of my Wordpress blog. It’s like the furniture in the sitting room. Every now and again you just have the urge to push everything around to make everything look and feel completely different. I just had to do that with the blog. It was feeling a little tired. I had to take the large picture down from the wall and shove teh sofa against the far wall. So I’ve opted for a theme that I think is a bit more upbeat. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the link. Let me know what you think.  I’ve now added a new Musings page with posts about the process of being an artist, rather different from the usual posts on techniques and products. I thought it would add an extra dimension.  :-)

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NOW ISN’T THIS STUNNING…

I was recently thrilled to receive a photo from a customer in Georgia who had placed an oder with me for a selection of my mandala  hand embellished panels. Her project was for an original coffered ceiling which was to be installed in her bedroom. She and her husband were involved in quite a lot of refurbishment work in their house  and so had lots to do.Well, Rebecca

Mandala panels by Fiona Stolze in coffered ceiling

Mandala silk panels in coffered ceiling

received the panels and things went on as normal. I presumed the project had reached completion and hadn’t heard anything. Until recently….

I was stunned to open up the photos and see the final result. This is what Rebecca and her husband awaken to every morning. I feel so deeply honoured to have been chosen to provide the artwork for this amazing piece.. And when I heard all about how they had been on a journey to connect with me, that was all the more amazing. Nothiing happens by chance. So I am sharing this image with you in appreciation of the whole process and hope that you like it as much as I do. And thank you to Rebecca and her husband who kindly gave me permission to use this photo online.

It’s very exciting to get ideas from customers as my artwork can be incorporated into all sorts of amazing work that I could probably never even think of. So if you have any ideas you would like to explore and think that my artwork would compliment it, then please get in touch. I get as excited about these plans as you do. :-)

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IT’S A SECRET….

I also have a lovely piece of news which I am not yet allowed to share with you because it’s still not officially been announced and

Beautiful wrapping for silkandart gifts

Silk & Art Gift Wrapping

I have been asked to keep it under my cap. But as soon as I am allowed to publicise it, I shall. Promise. :-) )) In fact it looks like it will come out on July 1st which is only a few days away. I can’t wait that long, though, to send out this newsletter, so I think the extra piece of news will have to reach you in an additional email at the end of the week.

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NEW DOWNLOADS ON THE HORIZON

It may not have escaped your attention that I am doing a lot of writing these days. I do  have plans to publish my books at some time in the future. Until that happens I am intending to create some downloads that I will be able to offer on my website. Some of these are already in development and may be ready by the end of next month. I receive many questions by email asking for details of how to do specific things so this will offer a quick fix for many who are wanting to try out different projects for some fun at home. If you have any particular requests in this area, just let me know and I’ll do my best to accomodate them. :-)

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MY LATEST ARTISTIC CREATIONS

It might also interest you to know what artistic endeavours I have been pursuing since we last connected.  Well the first of these is

Hand painted silk top by Fiona Stolze

Crepe de chine silk top in fuchsia

a silk top. I published a couple of articles on my blog on how I put it together. I used a premade crepe de chine top this time, with the sides open. This time I didn’t use a frame but did some wet sculpting on the table on plastic sheeting. I left the silk to dry overnight before adding some more details. The silk was still unsteamed so I had to be really careful that I didn’t bloop anything and make a mess. I added a small gold gutta pattern and filled in some more small areas of dye before rolling it all up for steaming. Finally it was washed out and sewn at the sides.  These pictures let you see what the finished item looks like. If you’d like to read the two blog post, you can find them here -  (1) Painting a Crepe de Chine Top in Nummy Fuchsia, and (2) And This is What the Top Looks Like Now It’s Finished.

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Gorgeous Hand Painted Silk Clutch by Fiona Stolze

Hand painted silk clutch bag

Then I had a go at making a little silk clutch bag completely from scratch. It’s something I have been wanting to do for such a long time and I was totally delighted with the end result. Here is a picture of what it looks like and you can read my blog post describing the process involved: “And Here’s That Little Clutch Bag I Was Talking About Earlier”.  You can see the Etsy listing of this clutch bag here and if you’d like to have one of your own in your favourite colours and design, just contact me and we’ll make it happen.

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Chakra cards: it has been a long time since I first spoke about having a small run of chakra cards made to see how they are. I thought it was a simple process of sending the files to the printers with details of what I wanted them to look like, as I have experience of doing this. However, I duly sent everything off and then the days and weeks began to tick by until I realised that I hadn’t heard back. It was only last week that I managed to get a reply and find out that they have been rushed off their feet and unable to see to my order until now. So the good news is that the proofs are lying here on  my desk and all I need to do now is say ‘yes’ and off we go. These are laser prints as it is only a small run, not the thousands per piece as per lithographic printing. The reproduction is not quite the same but it would be lovely to these images on greeting cards. So big apologies to those of who have expressed interest in them. They are truly on their way now. I normally sell these items at £2.50 each plus pp but as an introductory offer, you can have a set of 7 for £14 plus pp. Please let me know asap if you would like to take advantage of this price by emailing me at info@silkandart.com

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ORDERING CARDS AND PRINTS

As many of you know, I offer a selection of  high quality square 14cm x 14cm  lithographic printed cards  of 12 of my mandala images. These can be bought either in a set of 12 for a good saving or individually from my Etsy store. I will be offering them individually from my website too in the near future: Set of 12 mandala greeting cards.

Prints are available of most of the images I have uploaded to my RedBubble page so please browse at your leisure. These include some acylic and oil paintings. A wide selection of styles and formats is on offer, something to meet every taste and budget. You can find them here: Fiona Stolze’s RedBubble Page.

So, it’s question and answer time again. Honestly, there are so many questions that I could include here, it’s always difficult deciding on what to include. But I have, at last, made up my mind and here they are:

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LINKS

As mentioned above, I am now on Twitter and you can follow me here. I resisted joining for oh so long but I have at last succumbed and see it as a way to keep everything linked up. That way you hear about all the other things I am doing, too.

For those of you who still haven’t visited me on the Silk & Art Facebook fan page (or page you ‘like’ as it is now called), please do come on over. You can join in and add comments and be part of the discussion which is always lovely for me.

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*** SCARVES & CO. – SPECIAL OFFER!!!!

More recently I have been painting more silk scarves. These are just perfect as presents for all sorts of occasions, whether for favourite aunts, grannies, best girlfriends, daughters,  the list is endless. I have listed a whole range of new scarves on my Etsy

Silk scarf in turquoise and blue hand painted by Fiona Stolze of silkandart

Turquoise and blue crepe de chine silk scarf

shop so do pop over and have a look. Bright and colourful as always, there is something to suit every taste. And if you need something as a special gift, just let me know and you can have it really fast in whatever colour and pattern you want. How good is that? As a guidleline, a scarf costing $42 is approx. £28 (pongee), the $45 scarves are approx. £30 (crepe de chine) and the $49 ones are £32.50 (chiffon) It can be a bit confusing seeing an item on offer in a different currency from yours.

And there’s a special offer for the summer. I am offering a 10% discount on all scarves for the summer to anyone on my mailing list. I will refund this to you personally after you have made your purchase through PayPal on the Etsy site. The offer is also open to those of you requesting commission scarves. You will receive the 10% discount when you pay for your ordered item.

All you need to do it go to the Silk & Art Etsy Store and make your purchase.

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And the website is being made much more streamlined and modern. So watch out for changes in the next few weeks. It’s all go.

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MANDALA SILK PAINTING WORKSHOP DATES:

There is another mandala silk painting workshop coming up soon on July 10th so if you’d like to take part, please have a look at the details and contact me to make your booking. You can find the details here: Mandala Silk Painting Workshop . Please note that due to space restrictions, I can only ever have a maximum of 4 participants at any one time.

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Q & A:

Should I I take care that the individual pieces of silk don’t touch each other during steaming?

Just last week I was delighted to find this video by a colleague silk painter who lives in India. She has a very unusual method  of steaming her work. In fact, she folds the pieces of steam up into small packages and piles them on top of each other before wrapping them in tin foil and steaming. I haven’t yet tried this out, but I am very intrigued. I have a feeling that it may work out differently for pieces with metallic gutta and wax. I shall need to explore those areas. So here, without any guarantee of results, is the lovely video in question. Enjoy (and thanks Husna).

Husna Rafath’s Tutorial on Silk Steaming

What do you mean when you talk about overdying?

This is simply when you dye a piece of silk in one or many lighter shades and then steam fix it. You can then apply wax or clear gutta to create a pattern on the silk before applying a second coating of dyes. The resist will ensure that the silk beneath it will stay the original colour while the background will have a new colour. After steaming the second layer, you can remove the resist by washing or ironing between layers of paper. It’s a fun way to create lovely effects.

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LIST OF SERVICES  I OFFER:

Here again is a list of the various services I offer. If there is anything you are interested in, please contact me to have a chat about it.

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: http://www.silkandart.com

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: info@silkandart.com

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: http://www.silkpaintinggallery.ning.com

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FREE MANDALA TEMPLATES:

Don’t forget the free mandala templates. You can find a selection of these published in the newsletters from December through to March. Feel free to download them and paint them for fun.

And that’s it once again. I am seriously considering only publishing this newsletter once every two months in its present format due to the work involved in preparing it. Although it is huge fun, it is enormously time-consuming. The other alternative is to continue publishing monthly but reduce the size considerably. I would appreciate any feedback you might have on this as your thoughts are important to the process.

So, enjoy the warm days and continue to be creative. Remember I’d love to see any work you do.

Take care. Blessings

Fiona

One Response to “June Newsletter”

  1. Bonnielynn says:

    As always, Fiona, your newsletter is an excellent read !
    Thank you for taking the time to share your life with all of us.
    :)

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