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Fish Silk Paintings- lesson plan


From: cen_aca_dp (cen_aca_dp_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Dec 10 2003 - 18:13:15 PST

This will be strictly the studio portion. Of course, you can tie in science
and Asian culture with this lesson, but I will let you all come up with your
own extensions. This was a "fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" kind of project, so
if anyone has any suggestions...

Denise Pannell
Defiance, OH
Do click to see the larger images.


silk stretched hoops (purchased either in a kit, or as a classpack- Nasco has
a classpack of 30 hoops for $37.50), silk dyes (we used Jacquard), bamboo
brushes, resist (gutta is toxic, but commercial resists are non-toxic, We used
gold, silver, clear, and black), resist applicator bottles, straight pins (we
put them in the tips of the resist bottles to keep them from drying out), silk
salt (All of the above were bought in a kit. Additional dye colors can be
purchased), white drawing paper, pencils, colored pencils (Prismacolors),
cardboard circle pattern the size of the hoops, light box, glue, scissors,
colored paper for mounting drawing, photos of fis & sea life (or whatever
theme you choose. I have seen beautiful floral designs a la Georgia O'Keeffe).

1. Using reference materials, students sketch an underwater scene. Emphasis
should be on the fish, with surroundings to include any of the following:
sand, seaweed, shells, corals, and a "current" (wavy lines behind the fish to
suggest sunrays or change of color in the water.
2.Trace the circular template the size of the silk hoop on to a piece of white
drawing paper. Using the light box, the students trace their sketch in to the
circle using pencil, Save the sketches, as they will be used later.
3. The circular drawing will be colored using Prismacolor pencils employing
the proper methods (layering of color, etc.) The drawing may be set aside &
worked on while the resist on the hoops dry.
4. Place the silk hoop over the sketch (NOT THE FINAL DRAWING or they may be
ruined) and use the bottles of resist to trace the underwater scene on to the
silk. Be sure that the resist goes through the silk to the back and that all
lines are connected, so that the silk dyes will not bleed into adjacent areas.
5. Allow the resist to dry completely before painting. Work on colored pencil
6. Using the bamboo brushes, spply the silk dyes to the hoop, allowing them
to bleed and blend together. (Emphasize the color wheel!)
7. Salt may be added to the water or sand to create a mottled effect. Paint a
small area and immediately add the salt to that area. (The dyes dry quickly
and salt will not work on dry areas).
8. The black, silver, and gold resist stays in the silk, but the clear must be
washed out using hand soap and water. Gently rub the resist using fingers. It
will become "slimy" and then rinse away.
9. To finish the colored pencil drawings, carefully cut out the circle, glue
on to a colored paper background and then cut again, leaving a one inch border
around the drawing. Display together. (A loop of ribbon may be hot glued to
the back of the silk paintings. I also hung three together in a tier by gluing
a scrap of ribbon between hoops. I will get a photo of the diplay case showing
all of the finished silk hoops tomorrow!).