I paint with dye on silk. Since this is an uncommon and often unheard of medium, let me explain.I stretch China Silk between the borders of a frame. I will then draw, by free-hand, the composition of the piece with what is known as resist, or gutta. This liquid creates a boundary which stops the dye from continuing to move across the silk. Once this is dry, I paint with the dye directly onto the silk, watching the piece come to life! The dye will move, bleed, and blend its way on the silk, finally stopping when it meets a boundary of resist. One of the biggest lessons silk painting has taught be is that of letting go. I might have an image or idea in mind of what I would like my silk to become, but the movement of the dye has a beauty far greater than I can control. Painting this way has been a lesson of letting go and allowing beauty to happen. When the silk painting feels complete, it is steamed with a professional steamer. This sets the dye permanently and brings the colors even more to life.
Jenni learned this technique from Tina Gleave while attending one of the many ongoing art programs offered by Yosemite Conservancy Art Center in the park.