Many of the pieces I do include a variety of techniques. I started my career with textiles using the process of silk painting. My first class focused on a technique called gutta serti, which uses a resist to paint an outline of a design onto a piece of silk stretched on a frame. Then dyes are applied to the silk, much like watercolors to paper. I was intrigued with the intense color and fairly quick results. But the gutta left a white line – similar to the black line of a coloring book. I often felt this detracted from the overall design and decided to find ways to eliminate that element.
One way I achieve that is to screen print a basic outline of an image onto white silk and hand color it with thickened dyes. Here I have a series of Green Herons, a wading bird found in this area. The birds were printed with thickened H series fiber-reactive dyes and then steam set so the outline will stay crisp during the application of the dyes to fill in the colors.
And here is the entire piece of silk with all of the herons hand colored and steam set. Eventually, these birds will be cut out of the surrounding silk and appliquéd to another piece, so the bleeding of the colors into the background aren’t an issue. If I’d wanted to keep everything as one piece, I would have masked the background and made the colors a little thinner during application.
As you can see if you look at the large version of the last picture, each heron looks quite different from all the others. This will allow me to choose the one I like best for each piece. Below are closeups of a few of them so you can see just how different they are from one another.