Now that I have a design in mind its time to find inspiration with a theme and color. For this project I went through all of my Japanese Embroidery and general embroidery books to pick up ideas. Because plum and the bush warbler are both symbolic of spring, it was very easy to choose it as the theme. Also, although I am very attached to fall colors I am currently working Saki Boxes in fall colors so it will be a nice break to work in what I consider the opposite colors - pastels.
One picture has a wonderful piece of silk that had me envisioning the warbler and fan on top of it. This silk goes from a beautiful green fading into a beautiful pink. It is found on the back cover of "The Fine Art of Kimono Embroidery". (Here's a link - look inside and choose the back cover). I just love the movement the change in color gives to this design. Immediately my mind envisioned the curious green warbler perched on the branch with the background in soft pinks. The beautiful, gilt fan with plum blossom floating in a breeze on a refreshing green background.
Then today I found this great website that is a close vision of what's in my mind. How wonderful.
Now that I know what I want, I open my little drawer of silk fabric to see if there is a piece that will fit the bill. Alas, all I have are one color fabrics and tons of white or cream. Egads! What do I do? This is a challenge piece so why not try my hand at dying fabric?
OK, I'm game. A little surfing on the web and then off to the craft store I go. Thiswebsite gives me lots of good information and I learn that I need an acid based dye because with silk one actually has to change the structure of the silk itself. A while ago there was segment on a quilting show where they showed a fiber artist doing a wet silk dying process where one puts the silk on a frame, spray it down with water, then take a brush or sponge with dye and create a very soft design. Seems easy to me. So that is what I do using a very watered down dye. At first I test it out using two small (10 x 10) pieces. Then I create one green, one pink, and one two tones. Here is a picture of the single colors:
They look good but looking over my inspiration piece from "Kimono Embroidery" and because in a way I'm throwing caution to the wind with this challenge piece I choose this two tone piece:
My excitement grew when I placed the design paper on top of the silk:
But what about the color silks for the warbler? The fan? The plum blossoms? Those are subjects of future posts so stay tuned.
Note - Dual Blog Posting with NING Blog