My Dance books will have about 15-20 de-luxe copies with the cover made of pure silk. I trialled backing the silk this weekend. Now that I am sure it works, I’ll sort out my screens to screenprint the covers.
I bought some white Dupion silk at a good price and dyed it in tea to get a champagne colour. You boil two ‘builders tea’ bags for about 5 -10 minutes, then strain the tea into another saucepan through a kitchen towel in the bottom of a sieve. This will get rid of the sediment. Put the fabric into the tea for a minute or two and check the colour, then immerse again if you think its too light. This is not really a general lesson on silk dyeing as you will never wash your book covers! Almost dry the silk then iron it while just damp.
Cut some mulberry paper about 2cm larger on the sides and about 8cm longer at the base. This will be glued to the silk to give it body. Mulberry paper is lovely for this sort of thing as it has great “wet-strength”. However, its surface is too fluffy to paint on, even with a soft Chinese brush. Rice paper is good for Chinese painting, but is very fragile when wetted. You can buy Mulberry paper at Guanghwa in London.
Lay the mulberry paper on another piece of glass or the formica cupboards and glue it with a large pasting brush. Go right over the edges so that it is well glued.
Pick the ruler up and you’ll find that the paper is manageable.
Brush over the surface gently with a large clean dry brush to make sure that the silk is in contact with the paper. Brush over until there are no air bubbles. Don’t touch the paper of you may tear it, ruining the piece. Leave this to dry in the shade for a good few hours.
Cut it off the glass with a knife or bonefolder where the fabric is overlapped by the paper. Do this gently! You can just see the glued down edges which are still on the glass in the background of the photo above.
The fabric is now really lovely and crisp and ready for screenprinting. I’ll keep you posted and show the finished result when it is screenprinted.