Welcome to the September edition of
Silk "tops" are one of my favourite
ways of incorprating silk into my artwork, so this month's newsletter
looks at what they are and how I like to use them.
Coming up this month:
Working with Silk "Tops"
Using Silk "Tops" in my Artwork
Download a high-resolution image for your own
wall or computer desktop
Working With Silk "Tops"
Last month I spoke about hand
painting on silk fabric and how I love the
beautiful lustre it presents. Having finished the initial painting,
quite often I start adding in silk fibres.
Raw silk is available in different forms. Most often
my first choice is to incorporate silk "tops" into the
work. These are unspun lengths of luxurious fine silk fibres of
equal thickness. They are already carded and combed, ready for the
more usual purposes of spinning and weaving. Normally I use these
pre-dyed and ready to use, but they are also available undyed, like
lustrous waves of soft, white-blonde hair.
Undyed silk "tops"
The colours of hand-dyed silk "tops" commercially
available are quite glorious, at the same time vibrantly jewel-like
and subtly shifting. On more than one occasion a pack of blue/green
"tops" has inspired the colour of the whole piece of work.
Hand-dyed silk "tops"
Most traditionally, the fibres are spun and woven,
sometimes carded with other fibres, such as Merino wool or cotton,
to produce beautiful finished products. Increasingly silk "tops"
are now used in alternative applications.
In felt-making silk fibres can be mixed with wool
to provide varying textural and colourful interest.
There are several methods for producing types of
silk "paper" using silk "tops" involving the
layering of the fibres and then adding a fixative such as an acrylic
medium or wallpaper paste, which bonds the silk together. Further
textures may be laid in at this stage, for example, dried flowers
and leaves, glitter, or other fragments of torn, hand-made papers.
The resulting material lends itself to further embellishment with
stitching, either by hand or with machine, beading and as a base
for yet more colouring or printing. Ultimately the resulting paper
can be made into useable objects: bags, hats and even wearable garments.
Like all materials, I feel the use of silk "tops"
is limited only by the imagination and creative process of the artist.
Using Silk "Tops" in my Artwork
This month I have created a video to show the way
that I incorporate silk "tops" into my work.
Sit back, press play and enjoy.
Download a free high-resolution image for your own wall or computer
I love the array of intense and luxurious colours
of the hand-dyed silk "tops" so this month I thought you might enjoy
an image of them for your own non-commercial use. Right-click
on the image below and select Save Target As. You can then
save the image on your computer and print it off on photographic
paper at up to A4 size without losing any quality, or use it as
a desktop background for your computer.
Be advised that the image is approximately 3MB big,
so might take a little while to download
If you run into any difficulties then please let me know.
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