artfully distressed

pictures of what I create and the places, people and ideas which inspire my art.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Silk paper making

Well, it's a great time of year to be a crafter, gives me an excuse to stay indoors when its cold and snowing. I'm glad the last snow has all gone here after it rained last night. It was really strange at work on friday night in the early hours of the morning watching it snow, then rain, then snow, then rain again. Make your mind up! Unfortunately, although the rain melted quite a lot of the snow that meant it was really slippery in the morning. I have to say I love the snow - on fields and trees - just not on the roads. My other half has had 1 snow day already when it was too bad to risk driving. I'm lucky enough to live not too far from work. Now that the snow has gone I have been out bulb spotting in the garden. I planted crocus and fritillary bulbs in the lawn as an experiment and I can just see them coming up so can't wait to see that little show of colour.
I thought I would share some of my work with silk paper which I started last year. I learnt how to make silk paper before christmas at a local community craft group. We used both the dry iron method and the wet (wallpaper paste) method and both gave fab results. I used the dry method to make a journal cover for my textile journal. Here's a close up showing the detail:

and the whole cover:

There are pieces of dried rose petals and lavender embedded in the paper with various thin threads, angelina fibres, flower details from net curtains and silver skeleton leaves.
I loved the dry method because it was so quick to do and not at all messy. Once you have made your layer of silk fibres and any embellishments on baking parchment you spray it with water (or a water based ink, I used antique gold colour spray) to activate the gum in the fibres, place another sheet of baking parchment over the top and iron it.
I stamped on the paper with a large flower stamp in gold ink to add more interest and mounted the paper on iron on vilene to stabilise it. To make sure all the embellishments stayed put within the paper I used free machine embroidery. I first outlined the skeleton leaves in silver and the flowers in gold. Then I went over the rest of the paper just doing loops. I started off with purple thread (bottom left corner) but when the bobbin thread ran out I thought I'd continue in cream and I love the effect this gives just having one section in purple.  
In class I tried lots of different colours and embellishments and I've put all these in my journal to inspire future ideas.


I used the wet method with wallpaper paste to make a background for an 8x8 inch summer inspired piece for a challenge set by a textile group I belong to. The poppies were inspired by a piece in stitch magazine but I've used different techniques to make my picture. 
The silk tops used for the wet method have a lovely sheen to them so although its more messy and takes longer I really love this method. I don't think its easy to see on the photo but using netting also gives a slight texture to the finished piece from the pattern of the netting. I incorporated lots of threads of various colours into the paper to give the background and once again mounted on vilene and secured everything with free machine embroidery. Then I hand stitched on the lovely ribbon with leaves all along it and the poppies which are made of 2 colours of cotton.  I particularly love the poppy stalks which are recycled bag handles from brown carrier bags couched on by hand.
If you haven't tried silk paper before its great fun and you can get some very interesting results. It's certainly something I will use again and again.