What is Silk Painting?

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What is Silk Painting?


Are you looking to enhance a room in your home with a silk painting that has been designed especially for you in the colours of your choice?


Here we explore what silk painting is and what sets it apart from batik and silk screen printing which it is often confused with.





Batik originates from Java, Indonesia and is a centuries old tradition involving decorating cloth using wax and dye. The word batik originates from the Javanese tik and means to dot. The art involves blocking out selected parts of the cloth with hot wax and then dyeing the rest of the cloth.


Silk Screen Printing


Screen Printing originated in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). Traditionally the process was called Screen Printing or Silk Screen Printing because silk was used in the process prior to the invention of polyester mesh. To silk screen, a very fine mesh is stretched tightly onto a frame after which a stencil is formed by blocking off parts of the screen in the negative image of the design to be printed and ink is rolled or sponged onto the screen, which is then pressed onto the object being printed.


Silk Painting

Silk painting is the application of paints or dyes directly onto silk fabric using an exciting array of watercolour techniques. The colours are quite often bright, vibrant and translucent and literally combine onto the fabric which will remain silky soft to the touch.


Chinese Origins


Silk painting originates from China and is an art form with over 2000 years of history. It is interesting to note that it preceded the invention of paper and was once known as "Bo" painting which was a reference to the white silk used as a surface. It provided the ideal canvas on which to paint as the silk could be easily cut to the size required and was so light to carry. This was in stark contrast to the stone, bamboo and wood which was available at the time.


A Difficult Art to Master


Silk paintings can be found worldwide and use a combination of dyes and techniques that have been developed in Asia and Europe. The silk surface is often prepared by stretching and dying silk with a background colour. The main problem is that the dyes and pigments bleed and spread when applied to silk and therefore the artist has to make boundaries so that this cannot happen.


Silk Painting is Here to Stay


Silk painting has come a long way from its beginnings in the ancient imperial courts and the art is now practiced all around the world. As with most things, silk painting has evolved through the centuries into a modern art form and it looks set to flourish for many more centuries to come.


Are you looking for an original silk painting to grace your home? Meikie has a distinctive design style and creates her own designs using gold or silver wide outlines which are then painted using specialist silk paints. 20 or 30 colours and shades of colours can be used for each painting to give it real depth.


Meikie works from her studio in Crowborough in East Sussex and has clients throughout Kent, Surrey and London. If you would like to see her work or have your own ideas for an original design, please email Meike on meikiecakie@hotmail.co.uk for an appointment.

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