Painting Scarves

posted in: Art, Dyeing, Scarves | 0




Now non-essential shops are open again it’s time to start painting scarves again for my outlets. I’ve been having a creative four months, painting with oil and cold wax medium, playing with acrylics and sewing with free motion machine embroidery  Some pieces may even be good enough to frame. No time is ever wasted and its all been a great learning experience..

First of all I’d like to tell you about a commission I had for a scarf last year. In circle dance an object such as a scarf is placed in the centre of the circle providing a focus. I regularly dance with a lovely group of people to music from all over the world. Everyone knows of Greek dancing but there are East European, Israeli and African dances as well as those created by the dancers themselves to classical or Celtic type music for example. The dance teachers travel to teach groups and they visited South Africa last November. This square scarf was a present for the group host. I designed it with abstract dancers at each corner and with the requested colours.


Scarf made for dancing group
The circle dancers in South Africa


The dancers scarf
The dancers scarf with a candle and flowers.


The scarf as centrepiece
The scarf as centrepiece for the circle.


Recently I’ve had to pause my painterly experiments to work on a set of scarves for The Liverpool Gift Gallery. I’ve been painting these for the owner for some time, but Liverpool FC had just won the Premier League causing a great deal of excitement in the city, so she suggested painting the birds in the team colours. We think they’ll be popular. I also painted in the usual colour combinations of pink/grey/black and turquoise/blue. The birds hold a gift in their beaks and there are waves rippling here and there.

Liver Bird scarves
New Liver Bird Scarves painted in red, grey and black.


The scarves are beautifully soft to wear and fill that ‘gap’ between neck and dress. I usually double them and thread through the loop for a more substantial effect. I have lots of scarves in my wardrobe that I call ‘rejects’ because small mistakes have happened during painting. But I’m such a perfectionist that no one would notice unless they study the scarves in detail. I put a lot of care and attention into painting the Liver Bird Scarves. They are presented in large cellophane sleeves for sale with the washing instructions on a card that you see here.

Watch this scarf being created in these videos :-

Instagram – barbarameynellart

Youtube Channel – Barbara Meynell ( video with subtitles )


To buy this scarf click this link to Liverpool Gift Gallery :-

Hand Painted Liver Bird Silk Scarf – Grey/Pink and Grey/Red

Pastel Painting Inspiration

posted in: Acrylics, Art, Exhibition, Mixed Media, pastel | 0

I always take a sketching kit away with me that consists of a small box of hard pastels, a charcoal stick, sketching pens and paper. I do a tonal sketch with notes about colours and a colour sketch if I have time. It’s not done neatly as it’s for my eyes only! So the sketches I’m showing in this post my be difficult to decipher, but together with a photograph it’s the start of my process in creating a pastel. A course led by Sarah Bee gave me the grounding and inspiration to develop my pastel work. I’ve continued to follow her mixed media approach by starting with gesso on card, then painting with acrylics and finally with pastel.

Further sketches to develop ideas.


Photo Inspiration
A favourite view glimpsed on my drive down to Llanddona Beach, Angelsey


i usually apply gesso to mount board in a semi-haphazard way that provides underlying texture to the fluid acrylics These are almost splashed on, helping to keep the finished work spontaneous. However I wanted a less textured look for most of this painting so I applied thinned terracotta pastel primer over the surface, then the soft pastel went on beautifully giving depth to the darker tones.

Glimpse of the Sea




Ice Dyeing Experiments

posted in: Art, Art Work, craft, Dyeing, Materials, Scarves | 0

Ice Dyeing Experiments

I seized upon the technique of ice dyeing to solve a problem.  I had a box load of good quality twill silk scarves that didn’t look good with wax resist. Twill is a dense weave so the hot wax doesn’t penetrate it very well. I came across a good magazine article by Susan Purney Mark ( a quilter) that combines shibori with dyeing.

Instructions for the process I developed after doing a few experiments:

  • Prepare bags of ice cubes. Fill about ten ice cube bags, freeze them, then rip open and pop them into plastic bags to keep frozen until needed. ( A bit of a slog but I’d need many more ice trays).
  • Accordion fold the scarves into square or triangle shapes until they are quite chunky and clamp the ‘packages’ with pegs. Steam iron each fold as you go for crisp edges. Submerge into a soda ash solution of about 2 tablespoonfuls to 3 litres for ten minutes. ( Note that finer silk may not stand up to the soda fixer).
soda soak
The scarf parcels soaking in the soda solution. Satin and twill silk in the bucket.


  • Squeeze out the soda water wearing gloves, remove the pegs and lay the folded scarves in colanders suspended inside large buckets. Strings tied under the buckets hold the colanders in place.
in the colanders
The folded scarf parcels laid  in three colanders.


  • Put roughly two or three teaspoons of different Procion MX dyes into empty pots. Wear a mask to do this to avoid breathing in tiny particles. Cover the tops with nets and secure with elastic bands. They will act as mini powder shakers.
procion dye in shaker pots
Procion dye powders in pots. Record the colours inside as the net obscures the contents.


  • Take the bags of ice from the freezer and quickly empty the cubes over the scarves in the buckets, completely covering them.
  • Shake the dyes onto the ice until there is a good covering of colour. Next time I may leave some cubes exposed for uncoloured silk.
dye on the ice
The dye becomes liquid as it is sprinkled over the ice and starts to drip through the colanders.


  • Place the buckets in a warm place ie. in the sun or by a radiator, and leave there for up to 48 hours. The ice will have long melted, but the warmth helps set the dyes.
  • Unfold the silk over the buckets and rinse in cold water until the water runs clear. Admire the varied patterns on scarves that are mostly successful. Less successful ones can be used in fabric collage for machine stitched art.
Ice dyed silk with overlaid prints
These ice dyed scarves were rather pastel coloured so I stencilled over with thickened steam-fix paint. I’ll post further examples on Facebook as I do them.

Original Pastel Artwork

posted in: Acrylics, Art, Art Work, Exhibition, pastel | 0

Original Pastel Artwork

There’s nothing like an exhibition deadline for motivation so I worked at developing my pastel techniques and eventually produced some artwork this summer. It was all helped by attending a great course run by Sarah Bee,  an artist who paints with pastel over acrylic underpainting. I spent three days under her tuition at Jack Beck House, a wonderful centre for painting in the Yorkshire dales. The lovely food made by Norma and her husband was equally as good!

Inspiration for painting
An old tree in the lane near the house was good sketching material.


A rough sketch of the tree.


The Wirral Society of Arts is celebrating its 70th anniversary this autumn with two exhibitions, one of which is at the Atkinson Gallery in Southport. I already have connections there with selling scarves in their shop and I love visiting Southport by train every now and then; a free journey as I’m over that certain age.  I was pleased to have the piece accepted that I did on the course, so it will be ready for handing in this November

Pastel painting
Acrylic and pastel painting.








Painting a Scarf- What is Needed?

posted in: Art, Art Work, craft, Materials, Scarves | 0

Materials for Painting a Silk Scarf.

It’s really quick and exciting to create a design on a silk scarf using hot wax as a resist. I tried gutta resist once but failed miserably as it’s hard to keep up the necessary pressure on the tube or bottle, it’s easy to smudge and it takes a long time to dry. Wax sets instantly and flows evenly from the canting. There is no contest!

So what materials do I use?

  • A frame for stretching the scarf. This should be slightly larger than the scarf size and made of wood about 1.5 inches x 0.5 inches. The larger side is uppermost and covered by thin foam, then thick tape. I stretch the scarf using headed pins through the rolled edges. The pins pierce the frame covering and the scarf is suspended above the frame. There are of course other ways to stretch the silk but this way is quick and easy
  • Scarf blanks from Rainbow Silks. The lightweight crepe de chine is popular with my customers.
  • Wax as in the previous post.
  • Steam fix paints and dyes. I mostly use Dupont paints or Jacquard Red label. The Jacquard dyes are almost like liquid Procion dyes. The Jacquard are strong and lightfast but tend to leave a darker ring inside the wax lines if they are not diluted enough. Rainbow Silks stock both.
  • A canting and/or a brush for drawing with the wax. See the previous post.
  • Watercolour brushes for painting.
  • I have a steamer for fixing the paints or dyes, but scarves can be rolled up in a paper ‘parcel’ and balanced on something metal ( I have used an upturned egg cup) inside a vegetable steaming pan. The parcel is covered with a cap of foil to stop condensation drips soaking through. I wrapped the lid with a towel for further protection and steamed the silks gently in this way before investing in a steamer. I steam a batch of up to 8 scarves in the steamer for 4 hours, but 1 hour should be plenty for one or two scarves using a pan.
  • If there are creases in your scarf after being wrapped tightly in a steaming pan or if you have used lots of wax and it’s not coming out, try a final dip into white spirit.
  • Synthrapol from George Weil a gentle detergent for rinsing the scarves. It helps to rinse out excess dye. A wool detergent could be substituted.
Old steaming pan
The wrapped silk was balanced inside a double pan.


My steamer
Silk wrapped in a roll ready for the steamer. A foil cap prevents condensation drips from the lid.


My frames showing the foam covering.






Batik- what materials are needed?

posted in: Art Work, Batik, craft, Materials | 2

Batik – what materials are needed?

The art of Batik can be practised ‘on a shoestring!’ So what materials do you need for creating a picture?

When I run a workshop I give a handout with a list of materials and equipment with costs so the activity can be continued at home. There’s nothing worse than getting enthusiastic about pursuing an art activity when the cost is prohibitive. Printmaking is an example – you need a small printing press for many types of printing. Having to travel to access one in an arts centre is really off-putting.

  • Paper. A wet strength Tissutex, Abaca paper or lens tissue. Art Van Go are good for these and other materials too. Cost 2.85 for 3 large sheets.
  • A wax pot. For many years I used an old saucepan with an attached jam thermometer, heating the wax on an electric ring to 120 degrees C. The pan needed watching but I usually managed to notice if the wax started smoking. I kept an old lid to hand in case of combustion! An electric skillet can be used but this too can overheat. A thermostatically controlled Tixor Malam pot costs 84.00 but to start with a pan is adequate. As I wax a lot I wear a face mask as the fumes can damage the lungs.
  • Wax. Under 4.00 for a small bag that lasts quite a long time. A mix of paraffin and beeswax is ideal.
  • A brush. The type used for oil painting. A fan brush is nice to use too. A canting costs 7.00 from Textile Traders.
  • Procion dyes. Empress Mills do a starter kit for 10.50. Procion dyes are in powder form and you should wear a face mask as the fine particles can damage your lungs. You can also use high flow or fluid acrylics, preferably with a medium such as Golden GAC 900 but this is not essential on paper. Diluted acrylic inks could also be used but do experiment as I have not tried them. Watercolour can be a bit insipid but some artists like it for its subtlety.
  • Paper towels. Useful for mopping up excess dye and holding under the canting to catch drips.
  • A vinyl or plastic tablecloth to work on. The waxed paper can be peeled off easily. I stretch the paper on a frame but this is not an essential item. Also, with a frame you have to paint carefully as the paper can become saturated and break.
Materials for batik
Some equipment and materials for doing batik work

Painting Scarves for Valentines Day

posted in: Batik, craft, Scarves | 0

Painting Scarves For Valentines Day –

I have a tried and tested approach to painting my scarves, but I’ve just found a quicker way to paint that’s been ‘staring me in the face’ for some time. I suppose that in the past the steaming process has failed to remove wax completely from scarves so I was pleased when some batik scarves I was doing for Valentines Day came out fine.

I’ve always painted around motifs such as flowers, circles etc and this takes time and care. In the latest ‘Valentines’ limited edition I’ve waxed over the small painted shapes and hearts then swept paint across the whole scarf with two brushes holding two colours. I’m not sure if this will work with larger motifs and I certainly want to avoid the waxy ‘halo’ around them that I half expected to see after steaming.

Hearts Scarf
Hearts drawn in washout pen ready for wax outlines.


scarf for valentines
The painted scarf


valentines scarf
The steamed scarf ready to wear!

Making Scarves

posted in: craft, Outlet, Scarves | 0

Making Scarves

November is always a hectic month as I’m making scarves for shop outlets and fairs. There’s also marketing and updating my online shop to be done. It’s looking depleted so I need to photograph some new scarves. I try to choose the very best scarves for online as I want 100% customer satisfaction. I also need the best for my outlets. In fact I need the best all round and I’m a hard taskmaster to myself! What do I do with rejects? Well, I wear them myself or I cut them up for wrapping round bangles. I’ve got quite a wardrobe full of scarves.

Bangles wrapped with strips of silk from reject scarves.


The bangles make good stocking fillers and It’s good to be recycling by using plastic bangles from charity shops.

In my Autumn newsletter I wrote briefly about a new shop in West Derby. It’s owned by poet and writer Georgina Moore and called the Liverpool Gift Gallery. The shop is in an affluent part of Liverpool and I’m sure Georgie is going to be successful. While I was there two local ladies were peering through the door and she opened it to chat. They said they were very pleased that a gift shop was opening in the village and would spread the word. It opens on Monday.

New Liverpool shop
Looking across the shop from behind the counter where I had my scarves. I roll them around tissue for carriage.


I’ve created a new design of the Liver Bird carrying a gift in its beak that will be exclusive to the shop. I first of all draw the birds with washable pen and then wax their outlines. I paint inside the motifs ( quite fiddly to do) and paint the background. I take them off the frames when dry and then it’s a case of getting down on the floor ( creak, creak!) to wrap these and others in paper for the steamer.

Liver Bird scarf
One of my ‘Liver Bird’ scarves exclusive to the Liverpool Gift Gallery.


New Outlet

posted in: craft, Outlet, Scarves | 0

New outlet for my scarves

I’m pleased to have a new outlet for my scarves. They are for sale in the shop at The Atkinson, Southport. They have been displayed well in this lovely modern shop housed within a building built in 1878. This also contains a theatre, cafe, exhibitions space, library and museum. The theatre attracts some good music and plays- I wish it was nearer to where I live! However I shouldn’t complain as my bus pass takes me all the way to Southport for free and there are some interesting shops along Lord Street.

The Atkinson




New Scarves

posted in: Batik, Scarves | 0

New Designs, New Techniques.

I love thinking of new designs to draw on my scarves and mixing colours that ‘zing’ together. A few weeks ago I got down to working on a batch of crepe de chine scarves loosely inspired by the lovely blue geranium flowers in my garden that bloom for a short while in summer, and the purple ones that go on into the autumn. They are wonderful ground cover and stop the weeds growing. I spend a lot of time gardening – thank goodness for the winter!

I have quite a few scarf blanks that don’t do very well in the steamer. I find the heavier weight crepe de chine becomes obviously ‘crepey’ in patches, so is unfit for sale. I’ve been experimenting with ice dyeing and shibori and I’m quite pleased with the results. I’m using Procion dyes for this technique and I was a bit heavy handed when I scattered the dye onto the ice, so they’re very garish. In ice dyeing the soda soaked fabric is laid in a colander resting in a bucket, then covered with ice cubes. The powder dyes go next and are left to soak through onto the fabric for 12 hours. The most amazing patterns are formed this way. I cant wait to do some more.

new scarf with flower design
New scarf 40 x 150 cms size with flower design drying on the frame.
Ice Dyed Scarf
Ice Dyed Twill Scarf

Williamson Exhibition

posted in: Acrylics, Art Work, Exhibition | 2

Williamson Exhibition

The Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead has a fascinating exhibition on at present and I’m pleased to be a part of it as a member of ‘Two Rivers’ Art Group. The exhibition is called ‘Wirral Villages Revisited’ and depicts original works of local scenes painted mostly by artists in the early 20th century. (The artist Harold Hopps has many of his works stored by the gallery). They are now getting ‘an airing’ on the walls alongside the same scenes painted by artists today. The new works will be kept by the Williamson but there are prints for sale at only 15,00.

There is historical information to accompany each pair of paintings and it’s enjoyable for young and old alike to play a game of ‘Spot the Difference’ around the gallery walls. When I painted Birkenhead Priory I became interested in how the trees had matured and also how the priory has a modern extension built in the ruins. The cranes tell their own story about the growth, near closure and rebirth of shipbuilding at Cammell Laird.

Birkenhead Priory
Birkenhead Priory painted by Harold Hopps about 1900.


The Priory today
Birkenhead Priory today painted in acrylics from a photo with some artistic license.

New Shop Opens

posted in: Events, Scarves | 0

Jo’s New Shop

February began with an exciting start for Jo Smith who runs Seagrass Studio as she moved to a larger premises in Acacia Grove, West Kirby. For many years she has sold my scarves in her shop in Hoylake, so I’m pleased she’s displaying a bigger selection. There’s a lovely array of local artist’s work, both 2D and 3D. Jo has her own paintings for sale around the gallery and she is running workshops in one of the rooms.

Inside Seagrass Studio
Inside Seagrass Studio

New Scarves

posted in: Art Work | 2

New Scarves

I’ve been busy painting new scarves for the season as there’s a couple of craft fairs coming up. The steamer is gently steaming away as I write this. Inside there’s a batch of seven crepe de chine scarves and it will be on the go for nearly four hours. The colours become more vibrant and the wax is removed, but more importantly the paint is fixed during the process. I took some photos of the whole process, from painting to steaming, but of course there’s more after that – washing out the excess dye (lots of rinsing) and ironing, then attaching the care instruction cards.

Half painted scarf

The scarf is suspended  above the frame with headed pins that are inserted into a soft pad made of foam rubber and carpet tape.So there is a gap between this frame and the scarf, avoiding paint roll-back. After each painting the frame is wiped down and the pins washed.



I keep a record of the paint colours I use, as I might want to paint the same ones again. Any paint left over from doing a batch (usually five scarves with small changes in each) is kept in little jars to use again.


Rolling in a cloth for steaming

This where my lounge rug comes in useful! The scarves are rolled in lengths of cotton cloth. During steaming all the wax goes into the cloth. In the past I used the ends of rolls from newspaper printing for wrapping the scarves, but the printers all recycle these now so I can’t get them. It means I have to boil out the wax from the cotton cloths before each steaming.


Steamer for the scarves

Inside the steamer the metal bar is suspended above the simmering water with a foil cap placed over the roll to catch any drips from the lid. My electricity bill goes up at these times!

New Work at Birkenhead

posted in: Art Work, Batik, Workshop | 0

Applying waxThere’s some lovely work being produced on the batik course at Bee Wirral (Birkenhead Centre for Early Excellence). Pauline has worked on a batik inspired by her experience of seeing a lovely sunrise at Birkenhead docks with the cranes silhouetted against the sky. She worked from one of her photos, painting the sunset colours first then very skilfully waxing the sky and between the crane structure.Lastly she painted the unwaxed areas to bring the silhouette to life.

Kath is working on a picture of some trees in the park. Both works are being done on tissutex paper





Trees Picture


Batik Course in Birkenhead

posted in: Art Work, Exhibition, Workshop | 0

Batik Course Work

Yesterday I started tutoring a batik course for Bee Wirral (Birkenhead Centre for Early Excellence) It will run for 5 weeks on Tuesday afternoons for adults living in the area. The work produced during the course will be exhibited in February in Birkenhead Park as part of a project called ‘Beautiful Birkenhead’. We are working on paper and cotton and themes will include trees, flowers, Bidston Hill windmill and the Chinese Pagoda in the park. A good start was made in the first session, even though some people couldn’t attend. In the picture Pauline is using the tjanting to add more wax lines before painting on dye the second time.


Batik after dyebath
The batik held up to light to show the colours well


The batik was finished the following week with a further dye and wax application and immersion in a navy blue dyebath. This brought everything together in a brilliant way! Pauline ironed out the wax and the piece will be framed for the exhibition.

New Paintings

posted in: Acrylics, Art Work, Exhibition | 0

New Paintings

Hilbre Path
Hilbre Path

I’ve enjoyed painting three small acrylics of local scenes that I’ll put into an exhibition at the Coach House, Royden Park, Frankby, It runs from Friday 21st to Monday 31st August. It’s good to have a change of medium occasionally, so I sometimes take work that hasn’t sold out of frames to make a fresh start, changing composition or colours.The three are called ‘Hilbre Path’, ‘Ebb Tide, Hilbre Islands’ and ‘High Tide Roost’.

I found out that the thousands of seabirds that congregate off the promenade at Hoylake in winter are known as a ‘roost’. The knot, sanderlings and others are driven in by the incoming tide and feed together in huge groups on a narrow strip of sand. It’s a marvellous sight watching them rise and fall, even for a non-birder like me. It occurs from Autumn onwards and is most dramatic at the highest tides.

I did a much larger batik on paper of ‘High Tide Roost’ a few years ago and also had cards made with the picture.


Ebb Tide Hilbre Islands
Ebb Tide Hilbre Islands


High Tide Roost
High Tide Roost

Summer Exhibitions

posted in: Art Work, Events, Exhibition, Mixed Media | 0

Sea LochI have work in two local exhibitions this summer. They are Deeside Art Group (known as DAG) from 20th – 27th June at Westbourne Hall, West Kirby and the ‘Two Rivers’ group exhibition from 4th July – 12th July at Parade Community Centre, Hoylake.

This is a new piece of work that was created using batiked and dyed papers and soft pastel. It’s called ‘Sea Loch’ although it’s looking towards Plockton in the Highlands,across the sea. ‘Sea Loch’ says it’s in Scotland in a more interesting way! The photo doesn’t do it justice as the camera changed the sea and far mountain colours to a blue rather than the deep greeny blue. All my photoshop skills won’t help!.

Exhibition at Ness Gardens

posted in: Events, Exhibition | 0


It’s only a week now to the exhibition I’ve been working towards at Ness Botanic Gardens, South Wirral. It runs from 29 April to 6 May in the Visitors Centre and is open from 10am to 4pm. I’m part of the ‘Two Rivers’ group and for this selling exhibition there are 12 local artists participating. There’s a wide variety of interesting work, and each day artists will be in attendance to talk about the work displayed.

Starting Batiks

posted in: Art Work | 0

In my StudioI took this picture while I was waiting for the wax to heat up, having painted the first colour. I’m using the silk paints on the paper rather than procion dyes as some of the mixed dyes separate and that’s no good for painting a sky. It’s only after they dry that this becomes obvious, and I didn’t want a green sky! The picture on the window ledge also had its first application of colour, and was soon ready for the first wax. The colours are very light to start, and the next ones will be more intense.

New Painting

posted in: Art Work | 4

'Mountain' Oil PaintingAs well as being busy with designing this new site I’ve been working in oils for a change and I think I’ll get this framed. It’s based on a view of Snowdon from Dinorwig above Llanberis. I took a photograph of the mountain when I was on my way back from a walk in the old slate quarries. Snow had just fallen on the peak and the afternoon light shone briefly on the land, lighting it with a warm glow.

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