Silk scarves by rovo

Silk is one of the most luscious media for art - beautiful to work with, delightful both to the eye and to feel, and versatile in use - you can wear it as a scarf or shawl or tie it around a hat or hang it on the wall or drape over a table or make it into spectacular clothing and cushions covers … Searching for an original and personal gift that can be mailed easily and inexpensively?
Hand-painted silk scarves are ideal - they are so light the postage is not much more than for a letter.


SilkCenturies ago silk was transported in caravans from China to Europe on the legendary silk road about 30,000 miles. One silk worm (bombyx mon) produces one silk thread in the length of 3277 feet. Silk is extremely dirt restistant, persistent and tough. Policemen used it for ballistic protection.

Painting process

Producing a hand-painted silk scarf takes me several days. I usually use scarves in the size of 35 x 35".

Stretching the Silk

The first stage is to stretch the white silk tightly in a frame.

Outlining the Design in Gutta
Paints and dyes flow and spread outwards when applied to silk. For design purposes, this flow can be controlled by various types of resist including hot wax and gutta, a kind of rubber-like medium which is applied as a liquid with a pen-like applicator to give outlines to the design. As it dries and hardens, the gutta acts like a fence to restrict the flow of dye.  Some gutta is washed out after the painting process and some is left as a permanent part of the design; it can be clear or colored. I always use a permanent gutta and my favorites are especially black and blue colored gutta.


After a wait of at least 24 hours after the completion of painting, it needs to be made colorfast by ironing.After ironing, the silk needs to rest a few hours for the dye to settle down. Then the final stage is to wash out excess dye and any salt used in special effects, and to iron the still-damp silk.