Scraps of silk can come in handy. I used this small piece of white, textured silk satin to make a bird silk painting featuring a cassowary.
Cassowaries are stunning, big birds and can be found in northeastern Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Wearing the bright colours of a cassowary will make a bold statement!
The Silk Painting Process:
I began the cassowary painting by drawing a black outline with an iron-set gutta. The gutta forms a barrier to keep the dye from spreading. It’s important to let the gutta dry completely before starting to paint. Often in silk painting a smooth gutta line is desired, however I love the squiggly, unpredictable lines with little globs here and there. Whichever way you do it, it is important to make sure that there are no gaps between the lines for the dye to seep out of. I also sign the painting at this point so that I don’t forget to do it later on.
As with all my paintings, I paint several layers of dye to make the colours deep and rich, letting each layer dry before starting the next. I never mix the dyes, I prefer to use them ‘pure’ and create new colours by layering one colour on top of another.
This is the finished painting. Once it is completely dry I set the dye and the gutta by heat setting it with an iron. I give it one last rinse and press and then it is ready to be sewn into something fabulous!
Using the Silk Painting:
My friend and dressmaker Svetlana Khmelevskaya made my cassowary silk painting into a blouse. Here she is wearing it at Designer Award at the Melbourne Cup. The painting goes perfectly with her Bonnie Evelyn Millinery hat and blue skirt. I think the cassowary looks happy to be out enjoying a day at the races. :)