I have found over the years that children love silk painting and without doubt, a project everyone feels successful with at the end regardless of skill level.
Each child created their own design and transferred it onto the silk with a water soluble pencil. To save time, I already had the silks mounted, so we just place a book underneath the silk in order for them to trace their designs.
I always have a test fabric mounted in an embroidery hoop for each student. This gives them a chance to experiment with the resist and dye prior to working on their piece. They quickly learned how much pressure to add to get the resist right and a variety of ways they could apply the dyes.
Then they got to work adding the resist to their scarves! They quickly realized that this takes a long time! I used a water soluble resist and found that by the time they finish the entire work, the first part was dry enough for them to start applying the dye right away. I had figured I might need to use a blow dryer, but in the end, that was not necessary.
Then it was time for the fun part, adding color! It looks a bit messy at this point with the resist and the water soluble pencil in the mix, but I assured them it will look quite different once we set the color and wash the silk out in the sink. As you can see, they had salt available too to add for texture.
When working on a silk, I have found that it is best to have them work on the subject matter first. Then based on the time left, I can judge how much detail they can add to the background. If needed, like in the case of this workshop, you can just wash in a color quickly to complete the project in time and still have a stunning work.
Look at these results! I believe everyone of them was created as a Christmas gift, which is why I did not want to post them until after the holiday.
I ran two classes, the workshop and a private group created by a parent.
(Yes! I am happy to run a weekly class or a workshop for a group of four or more students at a time that works best for the group.)
13 year old
When the artist started this scarf, she was thinking of giving it to a friend. By the end of class, she was not sure who she would give it too. I love the leaf montage and think she did a beautiful job adding the color.
13 year old
This artist made her scarf for her mother, she loves poinsettia flowers. She was concerned her mother wouldn't like it, can you imagine something this lovely not being liked by anyone? much less her mother? No doubt in my mind it was a huge hit Christmas morning.
13 year old
I unfortunately cannot remember who this artist created her scarf for but I do love that the reference used for this design was actually a succulent plant, not a rose! Such a cleaver idea.
10 year old
This artist created her scarf for her grandmother, who is also a textile artist. Her work is on display at the Seymour Art Gallery gift shop and she creates these lovely fabric dolls and felted fairy shoes. The felted shoes she has made special for her granddaughter were the inspiration for the scarf she in return made for her. Isn't that special? I know her grandmother will cherish this gift.
This artist came into the studio knowing exactly what she wanted to create for her mother. She wanted an abstract design in warm colors because her mother loves the sun and warmth. After a discussion together, she decided to work with overlapping circles (great sun reference) in a mixture of warm colors. She focused on color mixing and adding salt for texture. It was a joy to watch her get lost in the process for creating this scarf.
This artist wanted to create a holiday scarf for her grandmother. How cute is this holly scarf going to look worn during the Christmas season? I would be thrilled if I was her grandmother.
Another lucky grandmother! Such a cute design and I love how each flower has it's own unique design based off of the same repeated drawing.
This artist came to the studio knowing she wanted to create a cherry blossom for her grandmother. We spent quite a bit of time up front working out the sketch working side by side drawing. I showed her how to break her reference first down to shape and then work out detail. Once I could see her confidence grow, I left her to work with some of the other girls. When I came back, she had the most stunning drawing worked out that led to this beautiful scarf. She was quite proud of herself in the end.
This scarf speaks volumes to how forgiving silk painting is with children. Talk about a child who came to the project with complete abandon and a zeal for adding dye to the silk. This scarf was all about the process. She LOVED watching the colors move on the silk, blend together, and was quite involved in experimenting putting different colors on top of each other. As she finished the first flower, I was quite worried she would just have a brown mess at the end but reminded myself to trust in her process. There was lots of dye, lots of salt, and lots of excitement and laughter while creating this scarf and in the end, it came out lovely.
No need on my part to worry at all that she would not be happy with her scarf when finished- she was thrilled and quite excited to show her dad when he arrived at pick up. I know her grandmother will be quite thrilled to when she opens it up on Christmas morning.
I unfortunately forgot to photograph the last scarf created in studio. It was in a private class I ran for a mother and daughter the day before Christmas. It was quite special too and in my rush to get their projects finished for them for Christmas, I did not remember to take out my camera. The daughter made a scarf for her Aunt of her black lab, Sadie, that had passed away. Such a heartfelt gift that I know probably meant the world to her Aunt when she opened it on Christmas.
So impressed with each and every artist who worked on these scarves. I love doing this project almost as much as the kids love working on it. I'm guessing they made for a very merry Christmas for the lucky people who received them.