The Silk Dyeing Process

Creating quality silk painting is not that easy - it can take literally days of work!  But if you enjoy the end result like I do, it's worth it!  The piece of work shown below took about 2 weeks of studio time to complete.

Large frame with white silk stretched on it.
Stretching the prepared silk.

Before working with silk, it must be washed in a special chemical to prepare it for dyeing.  Then it is carefully stretched on a frame. 


These tasks can take several hours.

Develop your design.
Develop your design.

After developing your design, make a template that will slide under the silk and place your preliminary lines on the silk. 


Depending on your design size and complexity, this can take many hours.

Adding the dyes to your design.
Adding the dyes to your design.

Carefully add the dyes to the silk, according to your pattern or whim.


Again, this could take many hours.

Full of dye, the silk is ready to go through the steaming process.
The silk is dyed and ready for the dye setting process.

Now that the dyes are on the silk, the dye setting process begins.  I set my dyes with a professional steamer. 


Preparing the piece for steaming and the setting process could take up to 5 hours.  


The piece above took about 40 hours of work, from start to finish.


Revelation Billow