I must thank two masters of silk painting; one whose name I can’t remember…and the second one I’ve never met.
The teacher I met during my summer vacation
I met my first teacher during a vacation in Cefalù. I remember he was serious and meticulous, Portuguese and…that’s it. We’re talking about almost thirty years ago! So I will call him…Ricardo!
He taught me the first basic principles of the trade: the gutta, the different types of silk, the colors. I would take shelter from the incredibly hot Sicilian sun by spending time with him in his studio. He taught me his techniques as well as the love for beautiful things.
I still have the very first scarf I painted! It’s a white square foulard, on which I painted a series of blue squares and rhombuses to create a geometric frame. I used a transparent gutta as well as an olive green gutta…that, incredibly enough, would make the colors appear more golden.
The master of all masters
The second teacher was an incredible artist: Susan Louise Moyer. After I had just started to paint again I found (maybe in London) one of her books; “Silk Painting: The Artist’s Guide to Gutta and Wax Resist Techniques”, published in 1991.
To this day I still haven’t found a better, more exhaustive treaty about this Art.
Susan Louise experimented with every type of silk, loom and technique and was generous enough to document her discoveries in one of her books.
I still read it today, after so many years, and every
time I discover something new; more unexpected details that I can use for my creations.
In 2005 a very kind American woman visited my studio. I later received a copy of the book “Silk Painting for Fashion and Fine Art”, published in
1995; I had told her about my love for the book by Moyer, and a few months after her visit I found this second book in my mail.
It was almost impossible to find these types of books in Italy!
I didn’t really use social media or emails at the time…so I was never really able to thank her enough for her kind gift!
I hope that both my first teacher and this very kind lady will read these few lines dedicated to them: thanks to their kindness I was able to improve my abilities and techniques.
Thank you Italy
I must also thank the many Italian books I read that gave me great inspirations and ideas for my personal creations.
I looked for Italian artists that could teach me more about their techniques…but unfortunately this Art isn’t very common. Or maybe my research just wasn’t extensive enough. So Ricardo and Susan were my real teachers. I thank them both from the bottom of my heart…they were the ignition of a fantastic creative experience.
For those who might want to give it a try
Today pretty much everything can be found on the Internet. If someone wanted to experiment and paint on silk using this technique, the keywords to search online are: gutta, serti or batik…there’s a lot of different ways to paint on fabrics, but not all of them use this specific technique!!!