Thursday, 14 October 2010

Gold leafing on silk

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to take part in a gold leafing workshop with Midori Matsushima. This is not the standard gold leafing as we in the west understand it, but the art of Kinsai - gold leafing on silk. We prepared a piece of silk with gold leafing and once the embroidery is completed it will be made into a fan. For those of you who read Threads Across the Web, Carol did a series of posts on this when she attended a workshop with Midori earlier in the year - you'll find the details here. This form of gold leafing is used to decorate silk for kimono or other textiles and can be used in conjunction with yuzen dying or embroidery. One of the things that struck me most during the workshop is how modern materials have been used to replace or work with traditional tools. Rather than using traditional paper to make the cloud designs we used sticky back plastic. This had the various patterns we would need printed on it, so our first task was to cut out all the pieces very accurately. Both the positive and negative sides of some of these pieces would be used. The brushes on the other hand are hand made, an art in itself, sadly dieing out. Midori demonstrated how to use out sticky patterns as masks and how to use the brush and a blue metallic mixed with glue into a very think substance to form the clouds. This needed a very light touch to build up the layers of colour from dark to light. Harder than it looks! I'd have liked to get a more even shading, but I think they look OK for a first try. The branches of the cherries were made using a mix of gold and silver leaf. We used another sticky mask to protect the rest of the silk and used the same type of gold and silver technique as we used for the clouds. The next task was to put some gold and silver sprinkles over the whole of the piece. To do this we had spread glue over the whole of the silk - given how careful and precious we are of our silk when embroidering this felt really odd.
We used large and small gold and silver sprinkles.
This is the completed piece. Difficult to see just how much the metallics shine but they do look lovely.
Next job is to complete the embroidery, I'm guessing it'll be a while, but once I start I'll blog progress over on
This is the example of the completed piece which Midori brought to class.
For anyone who is interested in adding a new dimension to their textiles I would really recommend learning this technique from Midori. Check out her gallery of work.


Lutine said...

Wonderful !

coral-seas said...

Hi Jane. Didn't we have a fun day. I really enjoyed playing with gold and Midori is delightful.

Jane said...

She is isn't she. Had a great day and can see lots of posibilities for this for new pieces of embroidery

Rachel said...

Fascinating! Don't forget that the blue shading will have embroidery around it when the piece is finished, and won't look as stark as it does on its own!

Francis said...

So beautiful!

Susie said...

Wow! amazing!what a fantastic technique to practice. really looking forward to seeing the finished piece.