Making my silk flag for my PAW open studio

An account of the processes involved in creating my silk flag to fly at the entrance to my drive for Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) this year. I tried this for the first time last year and wanted to be a bit more ambitious with my design this year.

Pointers I had learned about in 2017:

– careful pressing of backing paper and silk so that they attach smoothly

– design needs to be checked so when silk #gutta which provides colour borders should be continuous without gaps

– do not pool too much paint on as it bleeds through fabric and may still go ast gutta edges

– try to avoid using gutta on pole sleeve

So during PAW 2017 I ran a competition to design this year’s flag. I had three children enter and I selected a winner. I emailed their parent but unfortunately did not receive a reply, however, I have used their design as the centre piece for 2018.

This year a change of flag shape allowed a border to add additional points that link the work to my art and my studio surroundings.

I chose to include my art name, modified images of pens I use and a pheasant and red legged partridge to represent where I live.

So that the gutta lines were not seen I designed the flag in reverse.

I drew the design freehand onto the backing paper except the order for the central design which I measured. This was then gone over in Black Promarker. I then turned the flag over and traced the design onto the silk with gutta. I ran out before I had finished and bought a second tube. I still need to find a better way to hold the gutta tube so that my lines are more even.

The gutta work needed to dry before today’s workshop. Coloured silk inks made by Schjerning are applied with a brush or sponge on a stick. Over application of paint means the paint will leak past the gutta lines – this happened in some places. I also managed to jog my arm with a loaded sponge of red paint and added a splatter effect onto my flag. I think I still rush the process and should try to be slower with this next year. My black work was done in black acrylic paint applied with a brush, a tool I am still not very confident with. To get the appearance of the pheasant neck plumage I used a deep purple and then a dark green,this worked well but I overloaded and got extra bleed.the browner feathers were added to with orange and salt applied for a mottled effect.

To lighten colours you should add water to dilute the paint and I was successful doing this to produce my grey areas.

Overall a pleasing result- far more colourful than last year and more detail completed. I learnt several techniques watching others especially Roger whose bled background that was therefore blurred worked very effectively. Sue used a combination of colours and the Salt well in her badger design.