Susan Demonstrating for a Silk Painting Class in her studio.
I have been painting on silk for more than 20 years and happily keep growing in the medium. Like any form of art it is a play between inspiration, technique, and being lucky enough to see both what the piece calls me to do next and when it is done. My work is essentially about form and color. The exploration of form and color can express itself into many images, abstract to representational.
The “wearable art” dimension of my work is an awareness of how to use color and form to enhance both clothing and the wearer of my work. So it has to do with placement of images and choice of colors that pair with “fashion” colors. After 20 years in the fashion business I have learned to use many shades of a given color so my work will span many seasons as color in apparel is tweaked from one year to the next!
The process I use to paint scarves, the gutta serti technique, named for the gutta percha that acts as a drawing medium, is a many step process. Pre-hemmed white silk is stretched between saw horses and the design is drawn in Dupont dye. In most scarves the gutta is then applied to “fence “in areas of color. The piece evolves as I play back and forth between applications of dye and drawing with the gutta. When I am happy with the painting the background color is applied. After the scarf dries it is steamed for 2 hours in my rocket-shaped steamer which assures the permanence of the dyes.
When I started painting on silk I did production pieces (meaning several of the same design) that sold in Nordstroms and other stores that catered to high-end women’s fashion. As the years passed I became more intrigued with allowing each piece to be one of a kind. My work is currently sold in Museum stores around the United States, such as the Renwick (a Smithsonian Museum), the Albright Knox, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Design, Cleveland Museum of Art, The Indianapolis Museum of Art and many others. My work can also be found in select galleries such as Ginko, Dancing Sheep, Heights Arts, and on Amazon, and of course here.
On another note, I am fascinated with creating images of people in many mediums. I hesitate to call them portraits as they seem to evolve into something less specific to the particular person and more about the needs of the particular piece. I have a gallery of work up to 2010 that can be viewed on another site, firstname.lastname@example.org.