Friday, 20 July 2007


Hello there. I am a member of Silk-n-Threads and also of the International Guild of Silk Painters. As a long distance member of Cheshire Branch I do not get to many of the meetings but I always enjoy it when I do! To make up for this, I have organised exhibitions for Silk- n-Threads at Buxton, Derbyshire where I live.

I am also a member of Peak District Products, an organisation of professional artists & craftspeople based in the Peak District and I’m the Secretary of a co-operative of artists based in the High Peak area.

I have been a professional silk painter for 12 years. The traditional gutta resist technique is an essential part of my work. Gold, black and clear guttas are used to create different effects. With many years of practice, I have tried to perfect the art of the fine gutta line and have recently inscribed all the writing on the Cheshire Guild of Silk Painter’s banner. Best known for my vibrant paintings of flowers, I have now added landscapes and a new range of quirky seaside images involving ‘Big Bird’ (see below).

There is a continuing debate in silk painting circles about whether to use silk paints (heat fix) or dyes (steam fix). I feel that it’s down to the individual and I think it depends whether you are painting a picture to be framed or painting something to wear like a scarf. Steam fix dyes allow the silk to remain soft and so this is nicer to wear. But as my paintings are framed, this isn’t an issue for me. I have always used iron fix paints – Pebeo Setasilk is my favourite - as they suit my way of working. The range of ready made colours is excellent, but they also mix well and are non-toxic - so great to use with children. They take salt well and if you use a hairdryer in your work, they are usually fixed by the end of the painting with no need to iron. I also use heat fix in my workshops as steaming is not an option within the time frame available. I recommend trying both techniques for yourself and then seeing what best suits your way of working.

I take part in shows & exhibitions throughout the area and also sell limited edition prints & greeting cards through the online shop on my website. Details of my workshops and events can also be found on the website: email:

Big Bird on a Beach Hut & Big Bird on a Deck Chair

These two paintings are the first in a series of a quirky new range based on the idea of ‘Big Bird’. Inspired by beach huts seen on holiday in Southwold, Suffolk, I made careful drawings and used black gutta to outline the design. Big Bird was in fact a mistake; I added him freehand to the Beach Hut for interest but made him too big! These are this year’s best selling designs.

Tulip Field

I ran a workshop based on a drawing of a field of tulips. Tulips are a nice easy shape for beginners and while the design is simple, it worked really well with these colours and the gold gutta. It’s my favourite silk painting and I wouldn’t part with it.


My most recent flower painting. I received this bunch of Anemones for my Wedding Anniversary and thought the colours were absolutely stunning. Often I have to photograph flowers as they die or wilt before I get chance to paint them. But with these I had time and was able to draw the design directly from the flowers. I used black gutta and created the depth of colour with quite a few layers of silk paint. I completed the painting with a ‘sunburst effect’ background, produced by painting wet on wet.

I love painting in this cartoon style. It’s really a design for a child’s room inspired by a painting session I had with some small children who were asked to paint their favourite animal. I used black gutta and added a stripy animal border for interest.

Cow Parsley

A very simple painting produced without a detailed drawing for once. With the branch of cow parsley in front of me and using clear gutta, I drew the main stem with three smaller stems and then just dabbed dots of gutta at random for the flower heads. When it was dry I painted over the whole design and scattered table salt across it. Then I washed out the clear gutta.


Each year I exhibit at a Cheshire Garden Festival. It’s a great source of inspiration for me and I go armed with my digital camera looking for my next silk painting subject. I was pleased to find these foxgloves and took loads of images from every angle to paint back in my studio. I really enjoyed painting this flower. I used gold gutta to outline and built up the inside patterns of the flowers with layers of paint and clear gutta.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007


Our June workshop was awaited by many with great excitement. Ruth Brown of Stone Creek Silk arrived despite the wet weather over in Yorkshire to demonstrate indigo dyeing with shibori techniques. Above is one of Ruth's striking indigo pieces. Click on Ruth's website above to see more of her work.
We made up a vat of indigo dye and then proceeded to prepare our fabrics, silk and cotton, by sewing, tieing and clamping. This photo shows a piece of cotton being prepared with strong synthetic thread.

Maggie and Muriel with their hands in the indigo vat. The fabric had to be held under the surface for 5 minutes. We had to be careful not to disturb the surface which would have added oxygen to the vat thereby reducing the dyeing qualities of the dye.
Note the green tinge of the fabric this is the colour the fabric is when first removed from the vat. Only when it is oxygenated in the air does it turn to blue.

Out to dry, in the afternoon we tried a range of larger samples, amongst them scarves that were clamped and wrapped around poles shibori style.

A hand stitched row of leaves although some of the group thought that they would make good fish. Belinda who completed them was very pleased with the result.

Annette clamped this scarf to get this striking effect.

This is a napkin that Denise sewed in a spiral resulting in this effective end result.

Maggie used a predyed scarf that she folded into a cone before knotting it several times.
Joy tied this chiffon scarf and this delicate pattern was achieved.

A bold pattern achieved by Pauline by tieing large marbles with string.

Beryl's butterfly was achieved by sewing the shape on to cotton, she intends highlighting the features with embroidery.

After rinsing and ironing the special effects achieved by indigo dyeing is obvious. The lack of flat colour, that is present with other dyeing methods, is the attraction of this method.This was a piece of silk satin and again the lack of flat colour creates a unique effect.