Monday, February 15, 2010

Silk Paper Trouble-Shooting

Since Mom's Harvest Moon free-lace piece worked so well, we decided to create some pieces of silk paper to incorporate into the kimono design. The silk paper would allow us to work with some of the song imagery that we couldn't easily get photographs of: "Northern Lights", "glowing embers", and "wood smoke."

The technique that I use to make silk paper is rather different than the one Judith Pinnell uses in her books "Take Silk" and "Silk 'Paper' Creations for the Fibre Artist." I don't really remember if I improvised this variation, I read about it, or someone else introduced me to it.

In order to get ready to make the silk fiber, I got carried away pulling out and sorting fibers to use. This is fairly typical of my creative process. The studio gets messy.


To start the silk paper, I put water in a Tupperware basin, placed a sheer piece of polyester (like curtain material) in the basin, and floated some silk fibers in the water. I had some trouble with the fibers sticking to my fingers because of the static from the dry winter weather (and therefore dry skin).

I added some bamboo fibers, wool fibers, and sparkly Angelina fibers along with a few strips of silk fabric. I actually got too carried away using non-silk fibers which led to problems later. After swirling the fibers around in the water to get a nice composition, I pulled the polyester sheer fabric with the fibers on it out of the water.
I put the fibers on the polyester onto a plastic tray.
I placed another sheer piece of polyester on top of the fibers and sponged PVA glue diluted with water onto the fibers. (You can use Elmer's glue instead, too.) I let the fibers dry after taking off the top layer of polyester fabric.
The trouble I had with using lots of non-silk fibers, was the fibers didn't want to form a nice flat paper and they wanted to stick to the bottom layer of polyester instead of peeling off the polyester nicely when the silk paper was dry. I have also let the fibers dry on a drying rack before instead of leaving them on the tray which also probably didn't help.

This one for the Northern Lights piece had the most actual 'silk' fibers so it came out the most paper-like of the three pieces that I did.
Here is a photo of what we did with the silk paper piece that was photographed above in process. Since it wanted to stay more fibrous and less paper-like, it was sandwiched between some bronze color sheer polyester fabric, machine stitched, and then zapped a bit with a heat gun to melt away some of polyester to show the fibers under it.
Here's the piece in its place on the kimono:
And here is one of the "Northern Lights" pieces on the kimono, too. This piece of silk paper was stitched to a piece of darker blue fabric.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Love to see the piece in progress. It's got a great flow to it. Looking forward to seeing them all completed and hanging in the gallery. - Cindy