Taking a risk
My work in textiles was a surprisingly natural progression and came at a time when I was looking for a fresh approach to my design and illustrative work. Silk painting allowed me to become a free artist.
The process is reliant on past experience and a willingness to risk. Structural integrity and working in the now, without premeditated drawings, concepts or guides is the norm. My work on silk is a combination of graphic design, drawing and painting. Applied in a free flowing intuitive technique that is underpinned by basic design, decision making and a knowledge of materials and tools.
I have labelled this approach Intuitive design. To make something easy to understand without explicit instruction from the heart and is healing. A visual communication complete in itself.
The importance of embracing the unknown during the process of making for me has been liberating. Silk painting is immediate, done in real time, with no erase. Every action has an impact and when ‘things’ occur, I work it out, sit with it, use past knowledge to think it through and decide what creative options will progress the image further. If the outcome is unknown, it is easy to let it go and not hold onto a preconceived result, therefore accept and respond.
The technique is both simple and complex. I do not predict the outcome nor want to, therefore I push things towards an outcome. Over time I have learned to combine materials with technique on different silks in various combinations. This approach keeps it new. I work on stretched and flat surfaces, both have their own characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. A stretched silk gives clarity, defined line and much more control. Here I work with satin and crepe silks of various weights. Knowing when to stop is the key. On a flat surface I generally use thinner silks such as georgettes, chiffons and satin crepes. The choice of how to proceed depends on what I am trying to make. The silk and material dictate what outcome can occur, these are my parameters. On a flat surface there is more creativity and less control. Here the silk can be worked, folded, turned over and manipulated in many ways that a stretched silk cannot.
I apply steam fix dyes by brush and spray and different quality guttas for line and effect. Some guttas are thick which I use to deconstruct, while others are thinner which allow a thinner line and a resistad type gutta which give a more consistent thin line, all of which are relevant and useful in the making process. I use water and salt in various degrees throughout the process as tools for texture, visual intensity and subtleness. I layer the work step by step in both vigorous and delicate applications along the way. Ultimately its the image that its all about and the resulting meaning.
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