Bits of History
The techniques and methods used to produce and paint over precious silk fabrics were kept secret by Chinese artisans until the XI Th. century. However silk was later produced by other civilizations and it even underwent a phase of industrialization.
An oath of secrecy was one of the requirements to become part of the corporation of Florentine dyers, since the right recipe of pigments and dyes meant beautiful and long-lasting clothes, and thus money.
Silk started to be produced in Tuscany at the end of the XIII Th. century.
Even today the threads are still painted before the actual fabric is created. This ancient technique was used for the Italian tapestries of the 1400’s, and it’s used today for the creation of refined garments like Sari.
Do you want to know my secret technique?
The technique I use for my creations is called Serti, a very popular Indonesian technique brought to France by Russian families.
The characteristic trait of this technique is the gutta (transparent or colored), used to outline the designs. Once the gutta has dried, it acts as a barrier for the dye or paint.
The colors are painted with brushes, while drops of water, alcohol, salt or contrasting colors can be used to create special designs or different shades of color.
To make sure that the color is evenly distributed the silk is stretched on a frame, otherwise the color might overflow from the barriers created by the gutta.
I use Japanese watercolor brushes. Larger campiture are obtained with the use of sponge paint brushes of different sizes.
I also use wefts with original designs: in this way I can add depth and value to the monochromatic or shaded campiture.
With these wefts I can also create details in metallic gold; an additional touch of elegance.
Once the piece is completed, heat is used to set the gutta, the colors and the final touches. The fabric is then ready to be used and washed.