Silk Painting Process

After the drawing looks the way we’d like, I stretch the white silk on a frame and then take a bottle filled with gutta (a viscous product that dries and keeps the silk dye from migrating to where it doesn’t belong) and using a thin tipped bottle, draw onto the silk. I then set up the dyes I want to use, blending them to the perfect tone.

I use the highest quality materials in all of my products: 19mm silk charmeuse, Tinfix dyes, and quilter’s cottons.


I get an idea for a piece and then draw it on paper.  If it is a custom order, my client and I consult via email (for those not in the Portland area) or in person if the client is nearby, and come up with a design. I create a life-size drawing of the design, photograph it and email the photo to the client for approval and feedback on color scheme ideas.

Once I begin painting, I have to paint fast…if I pause, it dries, and strange water lines form.  So having a clear vision of what I want to create is essential.

Once the silk dries for at least 24 hours, I roll it on top of paper over a special tube and place that in a big steamer. It steams for two hours; that process sets the color.   I hand-wash it to get any loose color out and then take it to the dry cleaner’s—that dissolves the gutta. When I get it back, I go to the the fabric stores  to find the perfect fabric border (for wall hangings and challah covers), backing (for tallit which keeps the silk from sliding off one’s shoulders) and for the matching tallis bag. Then I sew it up! For the tallit, sometimes I do a tzit-tzit tying ceremony with the Bar or Bat Mitzvah and his/her family. Many times I tie the kosher tzit-tzit myself and sit in prayer while I tie.

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