Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Liquitex Inks, Silk Carrier Rods - Another Experiment

An article in Britain’s Embroidery Guild magazine, “Stitch”,
It used silk rods and Liquitex Inks and enticed me to try this project.  Since being designated an author ambassador by my publisher, C & T Publishing, and receiving some of these inks to experiment with, I had everything I needed on hand so thought it would be a great little project to try these inks out on.
Happily on this sunny morning I got out all my supplies and proceeded to arrange everything for this project.  I soaked the silk rods in a bowl of warm water.  The article said 20 minutes to an hour, but I found after about half an hour they separated easily.  The goal is to not lose the gummy stuff that makes them stick together!  They are multi layered so this was also an experiment in how thin to use them.  Here is what they looked like when I started.
When separating these “carrier rods”, it isn’t unusual to find bits and pieces of stuff other than silk.  I found two little brown bits, that made the silk in that area a color just a shade earthier than the surrounding silk, and I think there was one piece that was a silk worm!  However, they are hard and dried and just fall out as you separate the layers.  I tried to capitalize on those spots, but two of them got lost in the inking! 
There are two good sources for these silk by-products.  One is Treenway Silks on Saltspring Island, BC .
Another supplier is Stef Francis in the U.K.  I have purchased from both and find both of them to give excellent service, mailing the order quickly and providing a high quality product. 
Here is a photo of the soaked and separated layers.  They are still wet here. 
From here I laid them out on wax paper on top of paper towel, laying the strips horizontally and overlapping so that the gummy residue could glue them back together.  Another layer of wax paper was placed on top of the wet layers and more paper towel, and then it was pressed with a dry iron. 
And here is a picture of the project after laying out the strips, pressing it dry, peeling it off the wax paper, and painting  water diluted Liquitex  ink onto the surface with a paintbrush.  See the inks here: The ink worked very well but I was not too happy with this sample, although it did stick together the best of the two:
But this one I painted while it was wet, and then pressed it almost dry in the same layered arrangement as the first one.  I think this one has potential for embellishment and mounting on a quilted background. You can see that some layers didn't bond, but I think hand stitching with embroidery floss will fix that problem and add another design element.   I can’t wait to get to that. 
I hadn't worked with Silk Carrier Rods in any capacity other than an already colored item that made an excellent embellishment.   I have a number of items that I’ve done with Liquitex inks now, and they all worked well.  I recommend the product highly.  Now I need to get busy and put them together into pieces of art!  What a lovely way to spend the day.