I paint silk, throw pots and collage poetry books & cards in my enchanted adobe studio in Pilar, New Mexico.

At the Sacred Heart Cafe, I make art to feed the hungry heart. Open all night, a warm place to wander and browse, savor and enjoy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chuppah Design Part 5, Stretching and Gutta Lines

Time to rrrrrrip silk! I measured the dimensions for nine pieces which will be sewn together to form the completed chuppah: center panel, four side panels, four corner squares. And ripped each piece. What an amazing sound.

Then, each piece had to be stretched onto an adjustable frame, using special metal hook/pins. Silk has to be stretched and suspended above the work surface when it is being painted. I stretch the silk upside down.

The next step is to place the inked pattern on the table and flip the stetcher frame onto it so that the top surface of the silk is facing up, and the pattern below is visible. The silk is now ready for gutta application. Gutta is a latex product, used to "trap" the dyes. Left to their own inclination, silk dyes spread like watercolor on wet paper. Most silk artists use a clear gutta, but I have become quite fond of using gold metalic gutta for most of my work. I use a plastic bottle with a needle nose and a special metal tip designed to control the flow.

I believe that gutta application is the step that requires the most practice and skill. If the linework is crisp and accurate, the stage is set for a beautiful painting. Without it, the piece is weak. I have experienced more frustration over the years learning how to apply gutta. It is an unforgiving teacher! If a mistake is made, there is only a tiny window of time to correct, by washing it out immediately. Maybe one minute....after that, it is permanent. The brand I use is Jacquard water based gutta, which does not have the toxic fumes of the solvent based brands.

I spent all day on Saturday stretching and gutta-ing the nine pieces of silk. I used up all of my stretcher frames. Once the gutta is applied then a drying time is necessary. If anything touches the wet gutta, disaster! When I am doing one silk, no problem, I just flip it over and let it dry suspended over the table. This time I had to find drying spots for each one of the frames, and walk very carefully around the studio and hallway and bathroom and office!

Here is the center panel Peace Angel with its gutta lines completed. With all nine panels done, I let the gutta dry overnight. Today is painting day. Goddess willing, the colors will blend and shine!

My goal is to paint today, and let it dry overnight, then heatset and sew on Monday. The wedding is Saturday, Aug. 30.

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Micaceous Clay Pottery from DolphinSmile Studio

Micaceous Clay Pottery from DolphinSmile Studio
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The Value of Play in Creativity

"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves."

C. G. Jung