The Painted Flower Challenge

I am so lucky  to be part of a group of artists on facebook from all over the world, some full time artists, and some who just do it as a hobby, who every month or so compete in a challenge.   There are no winners, no losers and only one rule, create ‘XYZ’ but it must be a personal ‘challenge.’  Get out of your comfort zone and create away but challenge yourself any way you want  I think most artists would agree rules dont work, they are they to be broken, and push the boundaries, so what a neat idea.  The artists that take part are a complete mixed bunch of people covering many disciplines including, silk, oil, fibre, mixed media, infact no rules means anyone doing just about anything in the art world!

Credit for creating this group goes to Don Baker ( Don not only comes up with some great ideas but is always around to provide help and encoragement to everyone who joins in…………And of course he extends the deadline when members (he) hasnt completed the challenge on time 😉  To contact or join the group please e mail, Don or myself.

We are now on the fourth challenge but felt it was time to show the world some of the fantastic creations so far.  The first was The Painted flower Challenge, below are the images of the flowers created by some members of the group, with a brief word about how they were challenged and contact details to see more of their work.

First of course the creator of the group, Don Baker


This is on 10 Momme Habotai with resistad and thickened dyes. The thickened dyes were used in the center of the flower for the dark spots, and also along the edges of the petals to intensify depth. The thing I found most challenging about this piece was trying to add depth to the center area. Value gradation is something I need to work on, as that is the key to dimension. Hoping I will be able to get a new piece done.  To see more of Don’s work or to contact him go to,

Carla Picciani


Contemplating the dark corner of my garden I was tempted to choose again hydrangeas to join this wonderful initiative of Baker (I love painting them on silk!)  But I decided on a new subject, so I started to draw strokes of color taking inspiration from Calla Lilies hidden amongst the large leaves……… To see more of Carla’s work or to contact her go to,

Kety Bagwalla


I did use Magic Sizing, sprayed all over on the pencilled drawing and gradually worked petal by petal to ensure there were no bleeds or jagged edges. After the flowers were done, started on the leaves, stems and buds (similar process with blending, shading more or less with brushes not too loaded). Once the flowers were dry, did the centres and lastly did the background, again taking care with almost dry brush just around the edges of the flowers and leaves and then with a bit more color once the edges were around were done and looked crisp.  To see more of Kety’s work or to contact her go to,

Kristina Klimentova


I present you Iris, one of my favorite spring flowers! To see more of Kristina’s work or to contact her go to,

Evelyn Antonysen


Painting on silk purely in a watercolour technique…. using just the iron fixed paints and water with the aid sometimes of a hairdrier. I particularly like this method for poppies as they look so delicate…light and airy. I called this work Free Spirits as that is what they seem to be to me.  To see more of Evelyn’s work or to contact her go to,

Judy Swircenski


Trying to work with whites and shades the biggest challenge ,as well as adding of water drops on leaves even tones of back round trying to give it a Suede appearance adding a cameo effect with the circle all little bit challenge but I really wanted this flower to tell its own story that is it only comes out at night that is why the dark back round I enjoyed the challenge. To see more of Judy’s work or to contact her go to, or e mail her

Kathy Murphy Childs


To see more of Kathy’s work or to contact her go to,

Tina Gleave


“Tender Thoughts”
Size: 11″x34″
Technique:**MS & Dried Red Label Dyes
Challenge: Never painted this color flower before. I dried all of my mixed dyes to a crusty mess and thought backwards for this painting. My personal challenge is also working on layering and adding depth to my paintings. To see more of Tina’s work or to contact her go to,

Lynn Meek


Steamed silk was centered over a gallery wrap canvas….with a mix of 50% matte medium and 50% water, I worked in quadrants with a large housepainting brush brushing the silk out from the center and working to remove all wrinkles and bubbles (you need about 5 hands for this job:) When the top was smooth, I worked each edge at a time pulling the silk around to the back and stapling…then finally folding the corners neatly.  To see more of Lynn’s work or to contact her go to,

Sande VanBuskirk LaFaut


There is a silk painting under all that quilting – really. My challenge for this was to paint 2 versions of the same flower and then blend them together with thread painting. I wanted to quilt the colored version with grey thread and the grey side with colored thread. I like the lower right where there is more quilting around the leaves and will continue doing that on both sides, it’s been an interesting experiment.

Caroline Spooner


Silk Charmeusse 35 x 25 , water, alcohol, silk dyes and a hairdryer and the challenge, I like bold colors and wanted to be free of any boundaries with resists.  To see more of my work or to contact me go to,

Mary Edna Fraser

Moonlit_Crysanthemums_colorcorrect_14in copy

To see more of Mary Edna’s work or to contact her go to,

Next post will be the second challenge, Landscape paintings.  If you are interested in joining this facebook challenge group please e mail, Don or myself.


The Textile and Fiber Art List

I am so lucky to be a part of The Textile and Fiber Art List, a site where fiber artists come together to share their love of their work, The lady behind the site Rachel Biel, recently did an interview, heres a link, very good reading and a wonderful site!

Kiefers Carousel Horse on silk.

I am lucky enough to live about 30 miles from Santa Cruz (my favorite place in the world!) For hundreds of reasons but up there near the top has to be that The Lost Boys was filmed there, dare I say if you never watched the film then you wont get this blog……….Really is there anyone out there who hasn’t watched it?  I never go there without thinking Kiefer was here, Kiefer did that.  We are away for the weekend in the RV and I just noticed this cushion here in the RV that I painted a long time ago, Kiefers carousel horse.

Happy saturday everyone, I hope it makes you smile! Steam set French dye on China Silk.Image

How to make a Bound Shibori ‘Bubbles’ scarf part Four

After removing the scrf from the steamer I left it to dry out for a few hours.  I then rinsed the scarf in warm water with the cling wrap still in place again just an extra precaution against backstaining.  I then removed the cling wrap from the wet scarf, be very careful here not to undo the floss wrapped around the marble, check each one as you remove the film if any seem loose wrap a bit more floss around them.  Once all the film had been removed I again rinsed the scarf in warm water, then cold water then I washed the scarf in professional textile detergent I use Synthrapol from Dharma Trainding.

I then give the scarf a rinse in fabric softener and leave it to dry over night. Here it is in the sunshine drying.ImageFinaly the scarf is ready to be unwrapped.  You need to be very carful here as the floss is wrapped very tightly so watch you don’t cut the silk and not the floss!  I use what I call a quick unpick, I am no dressmaker and I have no idea if thats its proper name 😉ImageWhen all the floss and marbles have been removed you can sit back and admire your work, below are two pictures of the finished scarf.ImageImage

How to make a Bound Shibori ‘Bubbles’ scarf part Three

The scarf has been left to dry overnight and is now ready to be steamed, although I am happy with the color, I would have liked the background a little lighter.  I am doing this so people can try things at home using what they have, so rather than use my vertical steamer (not something you find lying around the house!)  I am going to make one.

First of all the scarf needs to be wrapped up in newsprint paper, (I get mine from a school supply shop nearby.) I always double layer the paper one under and one over, this helps a lot when steaming dark colors which tend to backstain.Image

I place a cardboard tube the kind you get from wrapping paper works well, at one end and roll the scarf around it. when rolled up secure the paper with tape and turn the ends together (if your pan is large enough you can leave it long but most people will need to turn it.)  Place your parcel in a disposable aluminum pie dish which is peirced on the bottom to allow steam through.ImageNext you will need an empty can with both ends removed I used a bbq bean can.  I also placed foil around the edges as removing the bottom made the can sharp.  The idea is the can will sit on the bottom of your saucepan in water, with the scarf in the pie dish on top.

ImagePlace water in the bottom of your saucepan, put the can and bring the water to the boil, turn it down to a simmer and add the pie dish.  Place your scarf parcel in the pie dish, and put on the lid.

Many people would stop me here and say that the scarf should be wrapped in foil, I have found over the years that foil retains moisture and can drip onto the newsprint and cause stains.  I have my own method it works for me and since I started steaming things this way I have never had any moisture stains on my silk.  Take an old tea towel place the lid on top then bring the ends of the towel over and tuck them tightly through the handle, secure it with pins if you need to.  This towel should absorb all of the moisture from the steam and prevent water dripping onto the silk.ImageThe scarf is now steaming away I will leave it for about 3 hours, the parcel is quite thick and with Shibori I need to be sure that it is well steamed.  Of course be sure not to let your saucepan boil dry!

Tomorrow all will be revealed!

How to make a Bound Shibori ‘Bubbles’ scarf, part Two.

Ok, so I left the scarf to dry overnight, fist thing to do today was attach the scarf to a frame to paint the main body.  Of course as the marbles pleat and pull the scarf in different directions this is easier said than done!  Neatness is not an option here, any which way you can is my motto!  Of course the scarf will fold and dip in places so the most important thing here is to ensure that you have absorbent material underneath, I use kitchen roll.  If you do not place something underneath, the dye will ‘puddle’ and cause staining and dark patches on the silk.  Heres the silk attached to the frame with the kitchen roll underneath.  Also my dyes are ready the original colors, in small pots and the larger pots with the same colors watered down.Image

Next I wet the silk, I always used distilled water to dilute dyes and wet silk (the well water where I live is horrid and has had some ‘strange’ effects on the dyes!)  I also add a touch of dilutant to the water as this helps to keep the silk wet for longer, its very hot here and sometimes when wetting silk I will find one end dry before the other has been wet, dilutant helps a lot!

Next its time to paint the silk, as I said I want the bubbles quite dark and this to flow out into lighter areas around them.  Make sure that there is not too much water on the silk and well go for it!  Here’s the scarf painted you can see that it has touched the kitchen roll in places but the dye has been absorbed by the roll, and of course all the neatly lined up dyes are now, well, not as neat!


When I am happy with the colors I again use kitchen roll to absorb the dyes around the edge of the scarf to prevent backstaining.  Once thats done and I am I leave the scarf to dry again for 24 hours, before steaming which I will do tomorrow.


How to make a Bound Shibori ‘Bubbles’ scarf, part One.

Lots of people ask me how to ‘do’ Shibori, there are so many different types and styles that its not quite that simple, but here goes on one type!  I decided to write this blog over the next few days and photograph the process of a bound Shibori scarf I am making.  I have no idea how this scarf will turn out as I’m doing this blog ‘live’ as it were, it could all end in disaster!

First of all I decided the colors, its so lovely and sunny here I was feeling very colorful so I decided to make the bubbles in dark rainbow colors and paint the background in lighter rainbow colors.  I used 14 x 60 Silk satin scarf and Jaquard red Label dyes.

First of all I wrap the ‘bubbles’.  For this I use marbles and dental floss, I randomly place a marble on the underside of the silk grab it from the top and bind it very tightly with the dental floss.


Heres the marble bound on the right side of the silk.  You need to wrap as tightly as possible if you want to stop the dye leaking out or the background dye leaking in.

Once all the marbles (as many or as few as you want) have been wrapped in the silk it should look something like this.


Now its time to paint each bubble, in the following picture you will see that I have my hairdryer next to me (just about, its the blue thing top left!), no matter how tight you bind the marbles sometimes a little dye will seep through, having the hairdryer means that you can quickly dry each bubble to minimise any leakage and stop any stain on the main scarf.  By the way its always a good idea to wear gloves, do as I say not as I do 😉


So theres my first bubble painted red. Once the bubble is dry I wrap it again, this time in cling wrap again using dental floss, this will stop the background dye from getting onto the bubble when you start to paint it, it also protects the background from leakage from the bubble.  I continued doing this until all the bubbles were painted and wrapped, heres the result so far.Image

I will now leave the scarf to dry for 24 hours before I fix it to the frame and paint the background.

I will post agin tomorrow on painting the background.  But I couldnt leave without showing you the scarf laid out to dry………….Well ok nothing to do with that I just love that cute little face watching me, meet Delia, my little rescue dog, who loves to sit and watch what goes on!