About Us

New York Silk Painters is a Chapter of Silk Painters International (SPIN), an organization of silk artists, painters, practitioners and educators, whose mission is to promote worldwide recognition of silk art.

The New York Chapter is a group of fiber artists who work in various styles to create fine art or wearable silk art.  We come together quarterly for an exchange of ideas and constructive critique of our work.

Silk painting is an intimate art. It is most often learned not through books, but by being passed from one person to another. The SPIN chapters enhance this by offering a local network to introduce new artists to silk painting and help silk artists expand and share their knowledge.

Our group has many experienced silk artists, some of whom have been painting on silk for more than thirty years. They bring experience from the fashion industry, have degrees in fine art and graphic art and are currently teaching and creating beautiful artwork that is exhibited on this site.
In the bios, there is a link to each artist’s website where you can see more ofher work.

What is Silk Painting?

Silk paintings are created on white silk. Using a paintbrush, the dyes are painted onto the stretched surface of the silk. The dyes flow into the fiber and bond with the proteins, becoming a part of the silk thread. This is different from oil, acrylic, or watercolor paints which sit on the surface of the support. Silk paintings are steam set, locking the dyes into the fiber and making the color of the painting reasonably lightfast and washable.

Silk painting has existed for centuries. There was a resurgence of interest in silk painting in France in the early nineteenth century with the discovery of gutta. Gutta is a rubbery resist that can be used to create boundary lines on a silk. The dyes that normally would flow through the silk are stopped by the barrier created by the gutta. This gives the artist control over positioning the dyes on the fabric allowing them to create images.

There are also more recent materials that help the artist control the way the dyes move through the silk. Many artists use a dye thickener or an antifusant on the surface of the silk to slow the flow of the dyes through the silk. There are many techniques used by silk fine artists to express themselves in this media.

For more information about SPIN and various silk art techniques, we invite you to visit www.silkpainters.org.