About my Art

drawing with wax
One of my early batiks on silk.

I design, create and sell hand painted silk scarves and ties. I was a teacher for most of my working life but art was always my passion. I loved creating batik pictures by drawing with hot wax and seeing it resist the dye; on cotton fabric and then later on silk.  I began to paint these landscapes on silk, hence the name ‘Scenic Silks’. I also painted large square scarves with all kinds of designs including astrological signs, dolphins and cats. On ties I was asked to paint a wide range of subjects including puffins, canal boats and cruise liners!  It was quite a challenge to squeeze the details into such a small space. Now all my designs are abstract and mostly designed on long scarves, but occasionally I paint ‘scenes’ for a commission. There’s a post on my blog about a scarf I painted for circle dancers.





Hand Painted Scarves – how I design and create

In my studio
In my studio with a canting tool

Each of my scarves is unique, being hand painted using batik techniques. I draw with hot wax on lightweight crêpe de chine scarves measuring 28×130 cms. The wax runs through a pen-like tool known as a canting. These fine lines set immediately. creating a resist for the dyes that are applied inside and outside the lines. The dyes are steam-fixed, so the next part of the process involves several hours of steaming in a special container. All the wax is steamed out during this time, and the scarves become colourfast. The finished scarves have a beautifully subtle sheen and vibrant colours.

I can do custom orders for these scarves, so if you don’t see the colours you are looking for in the shop, please contact me and I will paint in your chosen colours.

You could also request similar designs on scarves measuring 40×150 cms (on Ponge 5 silk only) or 45×180 cms (lightweight crepe de chine). Please note that my designs and colours change slightly from scarf to scarf. I have had orders for exact copies and it can’t be done!



 Silk Scarves with Tassels

The Shibori Process
The Shibori Process

Created on 100% natural Thai silk, each fringed scarf is individually painted using shibori techniques. The silk is folded lengthwise several times and wrapped tightly around a tube, then painted with steam fixed dyes. The process is usually repeated twice more with brief steaming between, until I’m satisfied with the colour balance and intensity. After the final steaming, the scarf is completely colourfast and ironing removes any creases.

Any imperfections in the weave are part of the nature of this silk. When the raw silk fibres were extracted from the cocoon they were drawn together and not processed any further. The ‘slubby’ texture is part of its charm and is only visible on close inspection. Overall the silk is smooth. The fibres reflect light and the scarves have a beautiful sheen. These scarves have wonderful properties of insulation and are cosy when folded double, helping to cure any stiffness of the neck.

Cosy Fringed Scarf
Cosy  Painted Scarf – Colourfast and Vibrant. Only weighs 37 grams.


Hand Printed Ties – combined techniques

handprinted tieMy hand printed ties use mixed media for a layered effect. Each of my ties is unique, being hand coloured and printed for a multi-layered effect. Acrylic fabric paint is applied over a transferred or coloured fabric crayon background. The ties are colourfast and can be wiped over to clean, and steam-ironed. I work on crepe de chine or crepe satin ‘classic’ style ties measuring 140 cm in length and 10 cms at their widest point.
I can do custom orders for these ties, so if you don’t see what you are looking for in the shop, please contact me and I will paint in your chosen colours and type of fabric. (Habotai, satin or twill).

4 Responses

  1. barbara

    Hi Jan,

    I’ve had prints made. If you are interested, I’m taking part in the ‘Art in Churches’ this weekend that’s part of the ‘Festival of Firsts’ The prints are £55. I don’t remember you, so you could browse incognito !

  2. Barbara Meynell

    Hi Jan,

    Thank you for your enquiry and I’m really pleased you liked it. That’s a very good idea! I know someone locally who will make very good prints, so I’ll get on with that and let you know when I’ve done it.

  3. Jan Cunningham

    Dear Barbara,
    Thank you for letting me see your work this afternoon during the Open Studios. I fell in love with the silk picture of the falling leaves displayed in the hall. Unfortunately it is beyond my art budget. Do you ever make more affordable prints of your originals by any chance please?

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