Painting Silk for Wings

Painting Silk for Wings

Posted by Opera Gal in Costumes 02 Jan 2013

The kitchen at the Opera Production Studios has been host to a strange contraption the past few days:

Setup for Fabric Steaming

Anna Marie, our Crafts Artisan & Milliner, has been hard at work on some painted silk for one of the characters in Florencia en el Amazonas.

Suspended packed of fabric in the steamer

Now that the fabric is painted, it’s suspended in a steamer to heat-set the fabric. You can see a bit of the package above.

Fabric packet being removed from the steamer

The fabric is wrapped in layers and layers of paper, then suspended in the steamer so that it doesn’t come in to contact with the water. The steam environment gets the fabric and dye hot enough for it to set, but the layers of paper keep the fabric dry so that the dye doesn’t bleed.

unwrapping the dyed fabric

Here you can see Anna Marie removing the layers of paper (that have absorbed a bit of the dye).

Final panel of painted silk

And here’s the final panel of the painted silk, ready to be cut and sewn into the costume. Anne Marie has over a dozen panels to paint and steam. She let me video a bit of the fabric painting, and we’ll share that process with you next week – Stay tuned!