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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Learning How To Hand Paint Silk Requires The Same Skills As A Marriage

Having now finished a succession of hand-painted pocket squares and having made a whole bunch of errors relating to brush stroke, dilution of dyes, treatment and setting, I can now tell you that the secret to this formidable art form requires three elements that I am told are also needed in a good marriage.

Respect, Patience And Compromise
Respect what you are doing. If you don't roll it up correctly, if you don't use enough news print, expect to find your pochette squashed and smudged.

Respect: This is an art form that requires respect for the fabric, respect for the dyes and respect for the equipment you use from brushes to drums used for steaming. If you don't clean your brushes, they won't do their job. If you don't watch what you are doing with your brush, it will ruin your canvas. It is that simple. Even when you are setting the dyes in drums, you must ensure that you leave no area exposed to droplets.

Patience: Like all great art forms, this take time to develop. I might be 100 pocket squares away from something I will gladly charge full freight for. In the meantime, you must work through the process like any other form of art or craft you undertake.

Patience: You might get it wrong twenty times before you reach somewhere you are proud of. This pocket square started out as an attempt to make blue and red meet in the middle. In the end after one or two errors and then a change of direction, it became an experiment in using flecks of water to dilute and splotch the dyes like rain.
Compromise: It's not a screen print. You are using a brush. The dye sometimes doesn't do what you think you told it to do with your hand. Don't be judgemental, don't give up. Compromise and find a way to express yourself within the parameters of brush strokes. It is therapeutic and it is calming, so don't pull out your hair if you don't get immediately where you want to go.

Compromise: You cannot do an exact screen print nor an exact drawing. The liquid dyes and the brushes ensure that you are leaning more towards a water colour painting than a screen print.
Should you wish to purchase any of my experiments, they are available online at for half the price of our regular squares.

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