Amazing Myself 

I don’t know about you, but my life ebbs and flows with busyness. Although I am never lacking for things to do, occasionally I hit those weeks or months when I’m running like crazy. Last week was one of those. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I ran that hard for eight straight days. I was so totally exhausted that I almost skipped out on my last day’s activity, but I have to confess that I’m really glad I didn’t.

Our weaving guild had scheduled a workshop which was advertised as silk dyeing. The teacher was our speaker our monthly meeting, and at that point I found out that it was silk painting instead. I was really disappointed, and I wasn’t very enthusiastic about her finished painted projects. That, combined with my utter exhaustion gave me every excuse I needed not to go. However, the teacher had been hired based on a certain number of students, and I really didn’t want to let the guild down. So I dragged myself out of bed, packed my lunch, and headed off on yet another hour  long drive.

Since I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I was very pleased to discover that our teacher had provided each of us with a piece of unhemmed silk to practice on. And additional blessing was that she had brought some sketches we could use for our designs. This was a good thing, because I can’t really draw my way out of a paper bag. 😉 I quickly snagged the dragonfly. All week long, when ever my thoughts turned toward the silk class, I kept thinking about dragonflies, so I was very thrilled to see that particular pattern! I traced it on the silk, and had no problems picking the five analogous colors I wanted to use. But I did have problems with was my sporadically tremorous hands. It turns out that my crazy week had produced hands that were at their worst, so my resist lines went on looking like Arabic writing. Happily, applying the paint is not a detail oriented activity. 🙂 I love working with resists and flowing paints! My little dragonfly came out looking not too bad. Then I figured that since this was supposed to be our experimental piece, I would try an idea I had for the background. I like the concept, but with only one brush, and using paints, which dry quickly, I could not keep a wet edge. So, my colors did not flow together for the most part. I’d like to try this again with dyes, or perhaps with one brush for each color. I’m glad I tried it, even if this particular experiment didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, because I learned a lot by doing it.


As I was finishing my practice piece, I had a sudden inspiration. I loved my color palette, but I knew I needed a different type of background. Not only did the technique not work well under the conditions I had to work in, but my dragonfly “vanished”  because of the similarly sized and shaped motifs. I wanted my dragonfly to pop out! I needed straight lines and some contrast. Then I remembered some batik quilts I’d been looking at on Pinterest recently. With a  wide range of colors, all of a similar tone, the large silhouette appliqués on them had popped out, producing some really stunning quilts. Bingo! I was going to duplicate this affect on my scarf! The only problem was that I would have to draw my dragonfly. LOL…

After getting my scarf mounted in the frame, I took a deep breath and set to sketching a dragonfly. I convince myself that: 

  1. This is a silhouette, so details weren’t that big of a deal. 
  2. It doesn’t take a whole lot of details to make something look like a dragonfly. 
  3. My hands were shaking like crazy, so everything was going to look a little wonky anyway. I could just go with the flow. 😉 

Well, I drew my dragonfly and the basic grid to break the background into 16 blocks, and it was exceedingly wonky! In fact, it was so wonky that when I put the resist on, I didn’t exactly stick with my drawn lines, and I actually think I did better than the original drawing. I decided to dry that before I doing the rest. There was just too much wet resist for me to keep my hands out of! Then I went back and added the details to the log cabin blocks. I did all of those freehand, as I wanted it to be somewhat organic in feel rather than regimented. This was actually starting to look good, and I couldn’t wait to see it with the color on it. 

It took a long time to paint that much silk, and I was racing the clock, trying to get done before class was over. I did not make it, but the teacher and a couple of my fellow students hang around to let me finish my painting. I owe them a big favor! 😉 I dried the paint there with the blow dryer, but I brought it home to heat set and wash it, which I did almost immediately, despite the fact that I was dead on my feet. It was looking so wonderful, I could not wait to see the finished project! And I have to admit that for a class I almost skipped out on, and for a person who really can’t draw… let’s just say I’m really happy I went. 😉 

Things I learned:

  1. It does not have to be perfect to be beautiful.
  2. My teacher put my scarf into the frame instead of just telling me how to do it. I normally do not allow my teachers to touch my class projects, and I wish I had not this time either. She did not have the tension even, so some of my primary lines that were reasonably straight when I drew them turned out extremely wavy after washing the scarf and pressing it square. So back to doing my own thing, and if I do this again, square is important!
  3. I want to make my designs, then have somebody with steady hands put the resist on! Then I can do some beautiful painting… 🙂
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Published in: on May 23, 2017 at 8:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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