|Snowgums, one of Sylvia Riley's most notable works, dye and paint on silk fabric|
|Shibori, an ever increasingly popular textiles art. Similar to tie dye but different and creating a more naturally looking fabric.|
In her own work for her masters, Sylvia has explored the realm of dye and painting on a cotton and linen canvas. Her work is combination of figurative and abstract techniques used to create a visual image which is very earthly and looks very much inspired by traditional native arts. Her work in shibori is similar, using leaves and natural flora debris to create silk satin fabrics which have earthly tones but which are bright with colour.
|Tie Dying fabrics. Something which is very popular at the moment.|
1. If you are using gutta, always make sure that if you are using anything heavier than 10mm silk, you must use solvent based gutta.
2. Always apply the gutta at right angles to the silk to ensure that it penetrates to the other side.
3. Always make sure you check the gutta lines for any breaks or the dye will leak through.
4. Prepare your work thoroughly, make sure it is stretched like a drum over your frame.
5. Atmospheric conditions are important, the best times to paint is on a cool morning.
6. Depending on the thickness of your fabric, you will need to apply the dye differently, therefore, always keep a test patch of fabric next to you to familiarise yourself with the various weights of fabric. The best fabrics to paint on are the lighter weight (10mm or less) habotai and crepe satin.
7. Always use white vinegar to bring the silk back to it’s original acidic chemistry
8. When painting background solid colours, try to work the dye on two fronts to create an even colour
What Sylvia loves about textiles art is that it is full of surprises. She equates the work of hand-painting as similar to water colour paints but says that the difference is the element of surprise. She says that you never know exactly what is going to happen with the dyes or how they might move, how they might run to the shapes you create in gutta, flow along a different type of silk or how they might react to additives such as sugar and salt. The process is one which can render differing results every time you apply yourself to the same project. Even when applying products such as anti-fusant to stop the dyes from running, the process is still never the same as painting using acrylic. For these reasons, Sylvia says the art form is forever surprising her.
Whilst there are many practitioners of textiles arts in Australia, they are mostly segmented between the various art forms. There is only one industry body which represents all these forms, and that is ATASDA –the Australian Textiles And Surface Art Design Association. Textiles artists are fighting for recognition within the realm of art as many of these artists are very much removed from craft and the discipline is nearly all about thought and expression as it is about craft.
|Sylvia's latest foray is into women's wear with earthy tones from local flora and fauna creating classically unique Australian pieces for women.|