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Page: Hand Painted Silks - Oriental Art of Silk Painting Methods

Hand Painted Silks

Add artistic touch to your home with hand painted silks

Even though art may truly be in the eye of beholder, it has become an integral part of home interior decorating. Often what some experts deem "art" is questionable, to say the least, leaving those less educated in art history scratching their heads. While the rich and famous will generally go for the "art" that's extravagant, hyped, and generally of questionable taste (if very, very expensive) just to be different from us "mere mortals", so-called ordinary people are more practical. From throw pillows featuring exotic fabrications and finely crafted baskets to hand painted silks and children's hand-painted furniture, art in the home is easy to appreciate, even when personal tastes are different.

A rich variety of hand painted silks

Hand painted silks are especially appealing, and can add elegance and sophistication to interiors. Silk paintings for wall displays use high quality dyes on luxurious silk that look gorgeous in frames. Hand painted silks can also be used for screens, giving an exotic and highly appealing theme to a boudoir. Similarly, abstract silk scarves draped over chair backs or nightstands add a subtle beauty to a dressing area. Decorative hand painted silk pillowcases can also provide a colorful contrast to solid color bedding and walls.

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Luxurious silk fabric can be greatly enhanced by hand painted or print patterns
(Image by Freeimages.com)

Hand painted silks and dyed silks have a rich and ancient tradition. Experts speculate that silk was first developed between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago in China, and was used as an elegant fabric for garments and, eventually, as an important component of the country's trade. Indeed, the 5,000-mile "Silk Road" connected China to Persia, India, Egypt (where mummies were sometimes wrapped in silk), and Rome.

Hand-dyed Kanchi silk

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Printed silk scarf from India

In India, Kanchi silk was and still is woven and hand-dyed. Kanchi silk is treasured for its superior craftsmanship and vibrant colors. Silk also played an important role in the Roman Empire, and was used to clothe emperors and for diplomatic gifts.

Batik silk painting method

Most people are familiar with batik, a silk painting method that dates back more than 1,800 years. It is widely used in Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, China, India and Sri Lanka, as well as African countries Egypt and Nigeria.

Batik is termed a "resist" technique because wax is applied to the fabric to make it "resist" penetration by the dye. Often, a fabric is waxed and dyed many consecutive times in order to incorporate many colors into the fabric.

Gutta silk painting

Another "resist" method utilizes "gutta," a derivative of the Indonesian Palaquim tree that is a natural latex. Gutta is most often used with the French Serti silk painting method. The consistency of gutta is similar to that of rubber cement, and is not as easily removed as wax or water-based gutta.

Contemporary hand painted silk

Today, artists use a variety of silk dyes and paints to achieve breathtakingly beautiful contemporary art. Those that produce the most vivid colors are dyes that require steaming in order to bond with the fabric. Paints used for hand painted silk are often the consistency of watercolors, and are set by using an iron.

When decorating your home, keep in mind that not all hand painted silks incorporate Asian themes. Contemporary images and colors abound, and you're sure to find silk scarves, silk framed art, silk pillowcases, and silk panels that complement your decorating scheme.

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