Monday, October 28, 2019

Painted silk banner

I recently tried my hand at silk banner painting for the first time. I had attended a class on silk banner painting in 2018 which was run by Sir Eva von Danzig and I used the notes from that class as my guide. The aim was to create a heraldic field banner for a friend.

I used Settasilk silk paint and gutta and a fine silk background fabric.
The first step was to draw up my design. I drew it on tracing paper and went over it with a felt tip pen.
I traced the design onto the silk using lead pencil.
The next step was to stretch the silk out and attach safety pins around the edges. I used rubber bands (looped around the safety pins) to attach the silk to the frame. I made the frame out of PVC tubing. Once it was evenly stretched with good tension, I used black silk gutta to draw the outlines. I was so nervous (as this was for a friend) that my hands were really shaking and so my lines were quite wobbly.
Once the gutta was dry, I added the silk paint. There were a couple of areas where the paint ran past the gutta lines. I did two coats of blue and two coats of yellow, with some orange highlights, letting each coat dry before adding the second.
Then I let the banner air dry thoroughly.
I left it on the frame in a warm place to completely dry.
Once the paint was fully dry, I ironed the banner under an ironing cloth with a dry iron following the manufacturer's instructions.
I turned the edges over twice to form a small hem and pinned it into place. It was whip stitched down.
Checking to see how my own banner was constructed (as it was made for me by a friend,) I realised that the delicate silk has worn away at the tip of the banner. This made me decide to add a cotton broadcloth pole sleeve rather than use the silk fabric to hold the pole. Hopefully, it will make the new banner last longer. I also need to make a sleeve to put on my own banner to extend it's life.
 Essential tools
Pinning the sleeve onto the edge of the banner.
I machine sewed the banner sleeve onto the banner.
The finished banner flying.
I followed the instructions given by the manufacturers of Settasilk silk paint. If I did the project over, I would wash my silk first (called "scouring") and iron it. I also would use thicker gutta lines to reduce the chance of paint runs. I might try spraying the silk with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol to slow down drying time and reduce the chance of lines in the background. And I would work out a way -somehow- to stop my hands from shaking.
This project was certainly a learning experience. Even though I was not very happy with my result, I learned a lot. I have a new and greater respect and admiration for people who make beautiful silk banners on a regular basis- the process was more challenging than I thought it would be.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Gilded Marzipan Fruits at a Pirate Tourney

I went to a pirate-themed tourney recently, and (as usual,) took plenty of food to share with my friends. Something that always has a big visual impact is marzipan fruits. They are so pretty, and adding edible gold leaf just adds that extra bit of richness.
Violas are in flower at the moment, and I wanted to candy some to add to the dish. I have concerns about using raw eggs in my cooking, so I attempted to candy them in sugar syrup. I made up a simple sugar syrup (with a high concentration of sugar and a splash of rosewater,) and soaked the washed flowers in it. Then I coated them in caster sugar. Once coated, I left them in a dish covered with sugar and with a few cloves for a couple of days to add a delicious scent. They didn't work out as nicely as when done with egg white, but I feel that was made up for by not having to worry about possible salmonella contamination. I will keep experimenting.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Short Holiday

I had a few days break on the coast at the end of September. It was a quiet trip as I ended up getting sick with a few infections, but luckily I have a great doctor there. I did some hand sewing and drew up some embroidery designs.

It is an area of stunning natural beauty, and a very nice place to recuperate.