Sue Orchant

Hand-Painted Designs on Silk

Today is washing day!

Sue Orchant

One of the steps in the process of hand painting silk, is washing out the excess dye once the silk has been steamed. I can't tell you this is my favorite step in the process because this step then leads to, you guessed it, ironing the hand painted silk. This was never my favorite job growing up. I remember walking down to the basement where mounds of ironing awaited me. Ugh.

Anyway, after the silk is steamed, and dried, the next step is washing out the excess dye. I use textile detergent soap to wash out the silk. This wonderful product suspends the dye molecules in the detergent, so while you are washing out the silk, the color does not repeat back onto areas you wouldn't want it to.

Here is the sink filling up with hot water & textile detergent. On go the gloves!

Here is the sink filling up with hot water & textile detergent. On go the gloves!

Once the sink is filled with hot, soapy water, gloves are put on to protect my skin, & the washing begins. I can only wash 1-3 pieces at a time, to ensure quality control. Only silks of the same colors can be washed together.

The washing begins!

The washing begins!

The silk is washed at least three times to extract the excess dye, and the residual soy wax in the silk. It is then rinsed until the water runs fairly clear.

Silk being rinsed out.

Silk being rinsed out.

The next step involves rolling the silk up in a towel to block out the excess water to speed up drying.

Hand painted silk scarves ready to roll up!

Hand painted silk scarves ready to roll up!

Next, the silks are hung out to dry!

Hand painted silk scarves a dryin'!  

Hand painted silk scarves a dryin'!

 

Now the fun part, (ha), the ironing of the silks.

Silks ready to be ironed!

Silks ready to be ironed!

Last, but not least, here are the silks ready to go! Woohoo!

My hand painted silks ready to enjoy!

My hand painted silks ready to enjoy!